Distributed multi-robot coordination in area exploration

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This paper proposes a reliable and efficient multi-robot coordination algorithm to accomplish an area exploration task given that the communication range of each robot is limited. This algorithm is based on a distributed bidding model to coordinate the movement of multiple robots. Two measures are developed to accommodate the limited-range communications. First, the distances between robots are considered in the bidding algorithm so that the robots tend to stay close to each other. Second, a map synchronization mechanism, based on a novel sequence number-based map representation and an effective robot map update tracking, is proposed to reduce the exchanged data volume when robot subnetworks merge. Simulation results show the effectiveness of the use of nearness measure, as well as the map synchronization mechanism. By handling the limited communication range we can make the coordination algorithms more realistic in multi-robot applications. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Robotics and Autonomous Systems