Publication details

An approach to time- and space-differentiated pattern formation in multi-robot systems

Tim Taylor, Peter Ottery, John Hallam
2007
Abstract

We consider the problem of non-trivial pattern formation in decentralised multi-robot systems, and, in particular, how to achieve time- and space-varying behaviour. To tackle the problem, we explore the idea of evolving the fine-level regulation of an underlying self-organising controller. Results from simulation show the promise of the approach: we demonstrate a robot cluster that can stably maintain two different spatial patterns, switching between the two upon sensing an external signal; we also demonstrate a cluster in which individual robots develop differentiated states despite having identical controllers (which could be used as a starting point for functional specialisation of robots within the cluster). The controller was developed with a particular hardware platform in mind—the underwater HYDRON robots developed by the HYDRA consortium (an EU Fifth Framework project). We discuss the implementation of the controller on this and other multi-robot platforms comprising free-moving individual robots, and suggest possible simplifications of the design. This work could eventually have applications in various situations that require robust, complex self-organising behaviour in a collection of free-moving robots, e.g. in space, underwater and nano-scale systems.

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Reference

Taylor, T., Ottery, P., & Hallam, J. (2007). An approach to time- and space-differentiated pattern formation in multi-robot systems. In M. S. Wilson, F. Labrosse, U. Nehmzow, C. Melhuish, & M. Witkowski (Eds.), TAROS 2007: Proceedings of Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems 2007 (pp. 160–167). Department of Computer Science, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{taylor2007approach,
  author = {Taylor, Tim and Ottery, Peter and Hallam, John},
  title = {An approach to time- and space-differentiated pattern formation in multi-robot systems},
  booktitle = {TAROS 2007: Proceedings of Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems 2007},
  year = {2007},
  editor = {Wilson, Myra S. and Labrosse, Fr\'{e}d\'{e}eric and Nehmzow, Ulrich and Melhuish, Chris and Witkowski, Mark},
  pages = {160--167},
  isbn = {0903878267},
  publisher = {Department of Computer Science, University of Wales, Aberystwyth},
  category = {conference},
  keywords = {grn, hydra, robots}
}

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