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Formations of minimalist mobile robots using local-templates and spatially distributed interactions

Krishnanand, KN and Ghose, Debasish (2005) Formations of minimalist mobile robots using local-templates and spatially distributed interactions. In: Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 53 (3&4). pp. 194-213.

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In this paper we address the problem of synthesizing simple rules and local interactions at the individual level so that prespecified complex behavior emerges at the group level of a collection of autonomous mobile agents. Usually, the emergent Collective behavior is used to perform certain spatial group-tasks. Specifically, we consider self-assembling of a group of mobile robots into grid, line, and wedge patterns. We introduce the notion of local-templates in which each mobile agent - capable of simple forward/backward movements and a clock-wise/counter clock-wise spin - actively encodes distinctive information into multiple non-overlapping sectorial regions of the surrounding environment in order to form pose-specific virtual links with similar minimalist agents in a local neighborhood. The resulting local patterns around each agent lead to the desired global formation. In order to take mobile robots closer to their biological counterparts, there is a need to further simplify the manner in which they currently perceive their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors, and compute their actions. We have built a robotic platform consisting of four wheeled-mobile robots that are christened as Kinbots. They are similar in principle to Braitenberg Vehicles and use simple perception/interaction/actuation techniques to achieve individual vehicle complexity and produce effective group behavior through cooperation. To validate the proposed approach, we demonstrate a column-formation task in Computer simulations and physical experiments. We illustrate an experiment which is representative of various prominent stages in a group-formation task such as formation-achievement, maintenance, and response of formation movement to the presence of obstacles.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to Elsevier.
Keywords: Emergent behavior; Group formations; Kinbots; Multi-robot coordination; Collective robotics
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Aerospace Engineering(Formerly Aeronautical Engineering)
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2006
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:22
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/5121

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