Autonomous Robots

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 581–597 | Cite as

A semantically-informed multirobot system for exploration of relevant areas in search and rescue settings

  • Alberto Quattrini Li
  • Riccardo Cipolleschi
  • Michele Giusto
  • Francesco Amigoni
Article

Abstract

Coordinated multirobot exploration involves autonomous discovering and mapping of the features of initially unknown environments by using multiple robots. Autonomously exploring mobile robots are usually driven, both in selecting locations to visit and in assigning them to robots, by knowledge of the already explored portions of the environment, often represented in a metric map. In the literature, some works addressed the use of semantic knowledge in exploration, which, embedded in a semantic map, associates spatial concepts (like ‘rooms’ and ‘corridors’) with metric entities, showing its effectiveness in improving the total area explored by robots. In this paper, we build on these results and propose a system that exploits semantic information to push robots to explore relevant areas of initially unknown environments, according to a priori information provided by human users. Discovery of relevant areas is significant in some search and rescue settings, in which human rescuers can instruct robots to search for victims in specific areas, for example in cubicles if a disaster happened in an office building during working hours. We propose to speed up the exploration of specific areas by using semantic information both to select locations to visit and to determine the number of robots to allocate to those locations. In this way, for example, more robots could be assigned to a candidate location in a corridor, so the attached rooms can be explored faster. We tested our semantic-based multirobot exploration system within a reliable robot simulator and we evaluated its performance in realistic search and rescue indoor settings with respect to state-of-the-art approaches.

Keywords

Coordinated multirobot exploration Semantic map Search and rescue 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e BioingegneriaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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