IRIS-00-387

Robust Behavior-Based Control for Distributed Multi-Robot Collection Tasks

Dani Goldberg and Maja J Mataric

We demonstrate the effectiveness of behavior-based control in facilitating the development and evaluation of multi-robot controllers that are: (1) robust to robot failures, and (2) easily modified to facilitate development of the controller variation that sufficiently satisfies the design requirements for the task. Our experimental focus here is distributed multi-robot collection, a class of tasks that includes de-mining and toxic waste clean-up. We demonstrate a basic multi-robot controller for the collection task, then show how to easily derive two spatio-temporal variations with markedly different performance properties. We evaluate the desirability of these controllers with respect to design requirements involving inter-robot interference, time-to-completion, and energy expenditure. The data for evaluation come from experiments using four physical mobile robots performing the three variations of the collection task.