Autonomous Robots

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 29–52 | Cite as

Multiagent Mission Specification and Execution

  • Douglas C. MacKenzie
  • Ronald Arkin
  • Jonathan M. Cameron


Specifying a reactive behavioral configuration for use by a multiagent team requires both a careful choice of the behavior set and the creation of a temporal chain of behaviors which executes the mission. This difficult task is simplified by applying an object-oriented approach to the design of the mission using a construction called an assemblage and a methodology called temporal sequencing. The assemblage construct allows building high level primitives which provide abstractions for the designer. Assemblages consist of groups of basic behaviors and coordination mechanisms that allow the group to be treated as a new coherent behavior. Upon instantiation, the assemblage is parameterized based on the specific mission requirements. Assemblages can be re-parameterized and used in other states within a mission or archived as high level primitives for use in subsequent projects. Temporal sequencing partitions the mission into discrete operating states with perceptual triggers causing transitions between those states. Several smaller independent configurations (assemblages) can then be created which each implement one state. The Societal Agent theory is presented as a basis for constructions of this form. The Configuration Description Language (CDL) is developed to capture the recursive composition of configurations in an architecture- and robot-independent fashion. The MissionLab system, an implementation based on CDL, supports the graphical construction of configurations using a visual editor. Various multiagent missions are demonstrated in simulation and on our Denning robots using these tools.

autonomous robotics mission specification visual programming 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas C. MacKenzie
    • 1
  • Ronald Arkin
    • 1
  • Jonathan M. Cameron
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Mobile Robot Laboratory, College of ComputingGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  3. 3.Pasadena

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