Dynamic Team Hierarchies in Communication−Limited Multi−Robot Exploration
Julian de Hoog‚ Stephen Cameron and Arnoud Visser
In the near future, groups of autonomous robots using wireless communication will be used for a wide variety of tasks. In many such applications, communication may be unreliable and communication ranges difficult to predict. While most current approaches to this problem strive to keep team members within range of one another, we propose an approach in which navigation and exploration beyond range limits is explicitly planned for. Robots may either explore or relay known information, and the team hierarchy corresponds to a tree. As the exploration effort unfolds, robots swap roles within this tree to improve the efficiency of exploration. Since robots reactively adjust to communication availability, the resulting behaviour is robust to limited communication. This makes it particularly suitable for applications such as robotic search and rescue, where environments are likely to contain significant interference and unexpected communication ranges.