skip to main content

Title: Adaptation to Team Composition Changes for Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Sensor Coverage
We consider the problem of multi-robot sensor coverage, which deals with deploying a multi-robot team in an environment and optimizing the sensing quality of the overall environment. As real-world environments involve a variety of sensory information, and individual robots are limited in their available number of sensors, successful multi-robot sensor coverage requires the deployment of robots in such a way that each individual team member’s sensing quality is maximized. Additionally, because individual robots have varying complements of sensors and both robots and sensors can fail, robots must be able to adapt and adjust how they value each sensing capability in order to obtain the most complete view of the environment, even through changes in team composition. We introduce a novel formulation for sensor coverage by multi-robot teams with heterogeneous sensing capabilities that maximizes each robot's sensing quality, balancing the varying sensing capabilities of individual robots based on the overall team composition. We propose a solution based on regularized optimization that uses sparsity-inducing terms to ensure a robot team focuses on all possible event types, and which we show is proven to converge to the optimal solution. Through extensive simulation, we show that our approach is able to effectively deploy a more » multi-robot team to maximize the sensing quality of an environment, responding to failures in the multi-robot team more robustly than non-adaptive approaches. « less
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Presented at the Workshop on Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Task Allocation and Coordination. The authors recently developed a distributed algorithm to enable a team of homogeneous robots to search for and track an unknown and time-varying number of dynamic targets. This algorithm combined a distributed version of the PHD filter (for multi-target tracking) with Lloyd’s algorithm to drive the motion of the robots. In this paper we extend this previous work to allow a heterogeneous team of groundand aerial robots to perform the search and tracking tasks in a coordinated manner. Both types of robots are equipped with sensors that have a finite field of view and which may receive both false positive and false negative detections. Theaerial robots may vary the size of their sensor field of view (FoV) by changing elevation. This increase in the FoV coincides with a decrease in the accuracy and reliability of the sensor. The ground robots maintain the target tracking information while the aerial robots provide additional sensor coverage. We develop two new distributed algorithms to provide filter updates and to make control decisions in this heterogeneous team. Both algorithms only require robots to communicate with nearby robots and use minimal bandwidth.We demonstrate the efficacymore »of our approach through a series of simulated experiments which show that the heterogeneous teams are able to achieve more accurate tracking in less time than our previous work.« less
  2. Sensor coverage is the critical multi-robot problem of maximizing the detection of events in an environment through the deployment of multiple robots. Large multi-robot systems are often composed of simple robots that are typically not equipped with a complete set of sensors, so teams with comprehensive sensing abilities are required to properly cover an area. Robots also exhibit multiple forms of relationships (e.g., communication connections or spatial distribution) that need to be considered when assigning robot teams for sensor coverage. To address this problem, in this paper we introduce a novel formulation of sensor coverage by multi-robot systems with heterogeneous relationships as a graph representation learning problem. We propose a principled approach based on the mathematical framework of regularized optimization to learn a unified representation of the multi-robot system from the graphs describing the heterogeneous relationships and to identify the learned representation’s underlying structure in order to assign the robots to teams. To evaluate the proposed approach, we conduct extensive experiments on simulated multi-robot systems and a physical multi-robot system as a case study, demonstrating that our approach is able to effectively assign teams for heterogeneous multi-robot sensor coverage.
  3. This paper presents the WiFi-Sensor-for-Robotics (WSR) toolbox, an open source C++ framework. It enables robots in a team to obtain relative bearing to each other, even in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) settings which is a very challenging problem in robotics. It does so by analyzing the phase of their communicated WiFi signals as the robots traverse the environment. This capability, based on the theory developed in our prior works, is made available for the first time as an opensource tool. It is motivated by the lack of easily deployable solutions that use robots' local resources (e.g WiFi) for sensing in NLOS. This has implications for localization, ad-hoc robot networks, and security in multi-robot teams, amongst others. The toolbox is designed for distributed and online deployment on robot platforms using commodity hardware and on-board sensors. We also release datasets demonstrating its performance in NLOS and line-of-sight (LOS) settings for a multi-robot localization usecase. Empirical results show that the bearing estimation from our toolbox achieves mean accuracy of 5.10 degrees. This leads to a median error of 0.5m and 0.9m for localization in LOS and NLOS settings respectively, in a hardware deployment in an indoor office environment.
  4. Abstract. Advances in ambient environmental monitoring technologies are enabling concerned communities and citizens to collect data to better understand their local environment and potential exposures. These mobile, low-cost tools make it possible to collect data with increased temporal and spatial resolution, providing data on a large scale with unprecedented levels of detail. This type of data has the potential to empower people to make personal decisions about their exposure and support the development of local strategies for reducing pollution and improving health outcomes. However, calibration of these low-cost instruments has been a challenge. Often, a sensor package is calibrated via field calibration. This involves colocating the sensor package with a high-quality reference instrument for an extended period and then applying machine learning or other model fitting technique such as multiple linear regression to develop a calibration model for converting raw sensor signals to pollutant concentrations. Although this method helps to correct for the effects of ambient conditions (e.g., temperature) and cross sensitivities with nontarget pollutants, there is a growing body of evidence that calibration models can overfit to a given location or set of environmental conditions on account of the incidental correlation between pollutant levels and environmental conditions, including diurnalmore »cycles. As a result, a sensor package trained at a field site may provide less reliable data when moved, or transferred, to a different location. This is a potential concern for applications seeking to perform monitoring away from regulatory monitoring sites, such as personal mobile monitoring or high-resolution monitoring of a neighborhood. We performed experiments confirming that transferability is indeed a problem and show that it can be improved by collecting data from multiple regulatory sites and building a calibration model that leverages data from a more diverse data set. We deployed three sensor packages to each of three sites with reference monitors (nine packages total) and then rotated the sensor packages through the sites over time. Two sites were in San Diego, CA, with a third outside of Bakersfield, CA, offering varying environmental conditions, general air quality composition, and pollutant concentrations. When compared to prior single-site calibration, the multisite approach exhibits better model transferability for a range of modeling approaches. Our experiments also reveal that random forest is especially prone to overfitting and confirm prior results that transfer is a significant source of both bias and standard error. Linear regression, on the other hand, although it exhibits relatively high error, does not degrade much in transfer. Bias dominated in our experiments, suggesting that transferability might be easily increased by detecting and correcting for bias. Also, given that many monitoring applications involve the deployment of many sensor packages based on the same sensing technology, there is an opportunity to leverage the availability of multiple sensors at multiple sites during calibration to lower the cost of training and better tolerate transfer. We contribute a new neural network architecture model termed split-NN that splits the model into two stages, in which the first stage corrects for sensor-to-sensor variation and the second stage uses the combined data of all the sensors to build a model for a single sensor package. The split-NN modeling approach outperforms multiple linear regression, traditional two- and four-layer neural networks, and random forest models. Depending on the training configuration, compared to random forest the split-NN method reduced error 0 %–11 % for NO2 and 6 %–13 % for O3.« less
  5. Seabed mapping is a common application for marine robots, and it is often framed as a coverage path planning problem in robotics. During a robot-based survey, the coverage of perceptual sensors (e.g., cameras, LIDARS and sonars) changes, especially in underwater environments. Therefore, online path planning is needed to accommodate the sensing changes in order to achieve the desired coverage ratio. In this paper, we present a sensing confidence model and a uncertainty-driven sampling-based online coverage path planner (SO-CPP) to assist in-situ robot planning for seabed mapping and other survey-type applications. Different from conventional lawnmower pattern, the SO-CPP will pick random points based on a probability map that is updated based on in-situ sonar measurements using a sensing confidence model. The SO-CPP then constructs a graph by connecting adjacent nodes with edge costs determined using a multi-variable cost function. Finally, the SO-CPP will select the best route and generate the desired waypoint list using a multi-variable objective function. The SO-CPP has been evaluated in a simulation environment with an actual bathymetric map, a 6-DOF AUV dynamic model and a ray-tracing sonar model. We have performed Monte Carlo simulations with a variety of environmental settings to validate that the SO-CPP is applicablemore »to a convex workspace, a non-convex workspace, and unknown occupied workspace. So-CPP is found outperform regular lawnmower pattern survey by reducing the resulting traveling distance by upto 20%. Besides that, we observed that the prior knowledge about the obstacles in the environment has minor effects on the overall traveling distance. In the paper, limitation and real-world implementation are also discussed along with our plan in the future.« less