Date of Original Version
Copyright © 2010 Carnegie-Mellon University
Abstract or Description
As multi-robot systems gain acceptance for use in functionally-distributed missions that require complex coordination for executing tasks such as planning, coordination, and information sharing in highly dynamic and potentially hazardous operating environments [12, 13, 20, 28-31], the ability of the robots to operate for extended time in the field becomes critical to mission success. Consequently, the problem of autonomous recharging is becoming increasingly important to mobile robotics as it has the potential to greatly enhance the operational time and capability of robots. Existing approaches, however, are greedy in nature and have little to no coordination between robots, leading to inefficient solutions that adversely affect system performance. Effective coordination of robot teams is an ongoing challenge and has been addressed using techniques varying from switched control [38-39], vision-based formation control , to market based approaches [27, 42, 43]. In this report, we advance the state of the art in autonomous recharging by developing, implementing, testing, and evaluating a market-based distributed algorithm for effectively coordinating recharging robots. Such a system is “charge-aware” and accounts for battery life when during task allocation process. The developed solution has been evaluated, in simulation and in field tests, on a team of pioneer mobile robots executing a set of transportation tasks in an indoor environment. Results show that our approach consistently outperforms the state of the art in recharging strategies.