An Approach to Multi-robot Site Exploration Based on Principles of Self-organisation

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Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to multi-robot site exploration and map building considering the robot team as a self-organising system. The approach has been developed within the framework of the project GUARDIANS. The Map Building process represents not a separate activity, but an inherent by-product of self-organisation. The system consists of an (heterogeneous) robot swarm, a mobile ad-hoc network and an (evolving) topological map of the environment. The proposed map building approach takes advantage of a cooperating robot team (as opposed to a single robot) allowing accurate deployment and localisation in a structured, yet dynamic manner. A topological graph representation of the environment is formed, from which an initial metric representation is elicitable as edges are assigned lengths. This reasonable sketch of the environment can be further developed to a full metric map and be used as the basis of building ad-hoc mobile wireless communication and sensor networks. The presented algorithms also take into consideration sensor limitation and are tested on a group of Khepera III robots, specially upgraded to fulfil the needs of our approach.