Cooperative Multi-robot Box Pushing Inspired by Human Behaviour

  • Jianing Chen
  • Roderich Groß
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6856)


This paper investigates mechanisms underlying cooperative behaviour in a group of miniature mobile robots around the problem of coordinating a group of robots to push collectively a heavy object. Numerous solutions to this problem have been proposed [5,7,4]. The performance of these however typically deteriorates as the number of robots increases to more than a dozen. The cause of this is often said to be robot interference—there are many robots but insufficient space to manipulate the object effectively. The situation is particular difficult when the object itself occludes the view of robots [3]. In this case, robots can benefit from division of labour (e.g., see [2]). Here, we take inspiration of the division of labour in teams of humans pushing a large object towards a target location: persons who can see the target push the box only when the transporting direction needs to be corrected, while all other persons simply push the box forward. The two roles in this cooperation are indicated in Fig. 1(a).


Target Location Cooperative Behaviour Online Supplementary Material Heavy Object Directional Colour 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianing Chen
    • 1
  • Roderich Groß
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Robotics Lab, Department of Automatic Control and Systems EngineeringThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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