Improving the Efficiency of Clearing with Multi-agent Teams

Geoffrey Hollinger, Sanjiv Singh, and Athanasios Kehagias
International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 29, No. 8, July, 2010, pp. 1088-1105.


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Abstract
We present an anytime algorithm for coordinating multiple autonomous searchers to find a potentially adversarial target on a graphical representation of a physical environment. This problem is closely related to the mathematical problem of earching for an adversary on a graph. Prior methods in the literature treat multi-agent search as either a worst-case problem (i.e. clear an environment of an adversarial evader with potentially infinite speed), or an average-case problem (i.e. minimize average capture time given a model of the target’s motion). Both of these problems have been shown to be NP-hard, and optimal solutions typically scale exponentially in the number of searchers. We propose treating search as a resource allocation problem, which leads to a scalable anytime algorithm for generating schedules that clear the environment of a worst-case adversarial target and have good average-case performance considering a non-adversarial motion model. Our algorithm yields theoretically bounded average-case performance and allows for online and decentralized operation, making it applicable to real-world search tasks. We validate our proposed algorithm through a large number of experiments in simulation and with a team of robot and human searchers in an office building.

Keywords
multi-robot coordination, autonomous search, pursuit/evasion, decentralized planning

Notes
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): EMBER
Number of pages: 18

Text Reference
Geoffrey Hollinger, Sanjiv Singh, and Athanasios Kehagias, "Improving the Efficiency of Clearing with Multi-agent Teams," International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 29, No. 8, July, 2010, pp. 1088-1105.

BibTeX Reference
@article{Hollinger_2010_6640,
   author = "Geoffrey Hollinger and Sanjiv Singh and Athanasios Kehagias",
   title = "Improving the Efficiency of Clearing with Multi-agent Teams",
   journal = "International Journal of Robotics Research",
   pages = "1088-1105",
   publisher = "Springer",
   month = "July",
   year = "2010",
   volume = "29",
   number = "8",
}