A Task Hand-Off Framework for Multi-Robot Systems
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Multi-robot systems have many uses such as cleaning, exploration, search and rescue. These robots operate under constraints such as communication, battery etc. In this thesis, we provide a method by which the robots can hand-off their current task to a new robot so that the given task can be continued without interruption. It is assumed that the task can be handed off to any other robot without losing the progress on the task. In the task hand-off framework, the robots complete as much of the task as possible before trying to replenish their resources (e.g., refuel). The robots must also make sure that the task is handed over to another robot before they go back to refuel. We demonstrate the task hand-off framework in the context of a battery constraint. The robots hand-off their current task once they are low on battery. The robots are divided into helpers and workers. The workers are the ones that perform the given task while the helpers wait at charging locations. Once a worker determines it is running out of battery it calls for help and switches behaviors with a helper. The new worker then takes over the task. This framework allows a user to model robot teams performing common robotic tasks such as exploration, coverage or any other task where the task can be easily handed-off without losing any progress on the task. We also present a simple priority based inter-robot contention resolution algorithm using motion replanning to avoid inter-robot collisions. Each robot is assigned a priority. Whenever the robots are close to each other, the lower priority robots halt and the highest priority robot replans a path around the robots by considering them as additional robots. We demonstrate the task hand-off framework approach using a physics based simulator that is built on top of a physics engine and also using physical hardware. The physical hardware consists of multiple iRobot Create robots with an onboard ASUS Netbook. We provide results from room 407 of the Harvey Bum Bright Building at Texas A&M University. We show that the tasks get completed faster with task hand-off than when task hand-off was not allowed.
Mishra, Saurabh (2018). A Task Hand-Off Framework for Multi-Robot Systems. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from