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- Proceedings - International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks
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Intelligent robot swarms are increasingly being explored as tools for search and rescue missions. Efficient path planning and robust communication networks are critical elements of completing missions. The focus of this research is to give unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) the ability to self-organize a mesh network that is optimized for area coverage. The UAVs will be able to read the communication strength between themselves and all the UAVs it is connected to using RSSI. The UAVs should be able to adjust their positioning closer to other UAVs if RSSI is below a threshold, and they should also maintain communication as a group if they move together along a search path. Our approach was to use Genetic Algorithms in a simulated environment to achieve multi-node exploration with emphasis on connectivity and swarm spread.
A robotic rehabilitation gym can be defined as multiple patients training with multiple robots or passive sensorized devices in a group setting. Recent work with such gyms has shown positive rehabilitation outcomes; furthermore, such gyms allow a single therapist to supervise more than one patient, increasing cost-effectiveness. To allow more effective multipatient supervision in future robotic rehabilitation gyms, we propose an automated system that could dynamically assign patients to different robots within a session in order to optimize rehabilitation outcome.
As a first step toward implementing a practical patient-robot assignment system, we present a simplified mathematical model of a robotic rehabilitation gym. Mixed-integer nonlinear programming algorithms are used to find effective assignment and training solutions for multiple evaluation scenarios involving different numbers of patients and robots (5 patients and 5 robots, 6 patients and 5 robots, 5 patients and 7 robots), different training durations (7 or 12 time steps) and different complexity levels (whether different patients have different skill acquisition curves, whether robots have exit times associated with them). In all cases, the goal is to maximize total skill gain across all patients and skills within a session.
Analyses of variance across different scenarios show that disjunctive and time-indexedmore »
Though it involves unrealistically simple scenarios, our study shows that intelligently moving patients between different rehabilitation robots can improve overall skill acquisition in a multi-patient multi-robot environment. While robotic rehabilitation gyms are not yet commonplace in clinical practice, prototypes of them already exist, and our study presents a way to use intelligent decision support to potentially enable more efficient delivery of technologically aided rehabilitation.
Complex service robotics scenarios entail unpredictable task appearance both in space and time. This requires robots to continuously relocate and imposes a trade-off between motion costs and efficiency in task execution. In such scenarios, multi-robot systems and even swarms of robots can be exploited to service different areas in parallel. An efficient deployment needs to continuously determine the best allocation according to the actual service needs, while also taking relocation costs into account when such allocation must be modified. For large scale problems, centrally predicting optimal allocations and movement paths for each robot quickly becomes infeasible. Instead, decentralized solutions are needed that allow the robotic system to self-organize and adaptively respond to the task demands. In this paper, we propose a distributed and asynchronous approach to simultaneous task assignment and path planning for robot swarms, which combines a bio-inspired collective decision-making process for the allocation of robots to areas to be serviced, and a search-based path planning approach for the actual routing of robots towards tasks to be executed. Task allocation exploits a hierarchical representation of the workspace, supporting the robot deployment to the areas that mostly require service. We investigate four realistic environments of increasing complexity, where each taskmore »
Blockchain-Based Mechanism for Robotic Cooperation Through Incentives: Prototype Application in Warehouse AutomationThe use of blockchain in cyber-physical systems, such as robotics, is an area with immense potential to address many shortcomings in robotic coordination and control. In traditional swarm robotic applications, where homogeneous robots are utilized, it is possible to replace a robot if it malfunctions, and it can be assumed that all robots are interchangeable. However, in many real-world applications spanning from search and rescue missions to future household robotic appliances, heterogeneous robots will need to work together with the other robots and human agents to achieve specific tasks. Nevertheless, no such system exists. Therefore, we propose a system that utilizes a token economy for robotic agents that makes agents responsive to token acquisition as an incentive for collaboration in achieving a given task. The economy enables the system to self-govern, even under Byzantine and adversarial settings. We further incorporate a novel subcontracting framework within a blockchain environment to allow the robotic agents to efficiently and cost-effectively perform complex jobs requiring multiple agents with various capabilities. We conducted a thorough evaluation of the system in a prototype warehouse application scenario, and the results are promising.
Abstract Swarm robotic search aims at searching targets using a large number of collaborating simple mobile robots, with applications to search and rescue and hazard localization. In this regard, decentralized swarm systems are touted for their coverage scalability, time efficiency, and fault tolerance. To guide the behavior of such swarm systems, two broad classes of approaches are available, namely, nature-inspired swarm heuristics and multi-robotic search methods. However, the ability to simultaneously achieve efficient scalability and provide fundamental insights into the exhibited behavior (as opposed to exhibiting a black-box behavior) remains an open problem. To address this problem, this paper extends the underlying search approach in batch-Bayesian optimization to perform search with embodied swarm agents operating in a (simulated) physical 2D arena. Key contributions lie in (1) designing an acquisition function that not only balances exploration and exploitation across the swarm but also allows modeling knowledge extraction over trajectories and (2) developing its distributed implementation to allow asynchronous task inference and path planning by the swarm robots. The resulting collective informative path planning approach is tested on target-search case studies of varying complexity, where the target produces a spatially varying (measurable) signal. Notably, superior performance, in terms of mission completion efficiency,more »