Sequential Task Execution in a Minimalist Distributed Robotic System

Chris Jones and Maja J. Mataric

The collective execution of a single task, such as foraging or clustering, has received considerable research attention in the minimalist distributed robotic systems (MDRS) community. In contrast, achievement of sequential tasks by MDRS has so far been considered in only a handful of studies. Sequential task execution requires a collective system to carry out a task, and then, in a coordinated fashion, move on to another task. This paper describes work in controlling a minimalist distributed robotic system in sequential task execution. We present two MDRS algorithms for sequential task execution in the foraging task domain, and validate them experimentally in simulation. One of the algorithms uses temporal behavior activation, the other makes use of probabilistic behavior activation. Both are effective in the partially-observable, non-stationary environments we tested them in, and their relative strengths are compared analytically.