TechTalks from event: Technical session talks from ICRA 2012

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Modular Robots & Multi-Agent Systems

  • Programming and Controlling Self-Folding Sheets Authors: An, Byoungkwon; Rus, Daniela
    This paper describes a robot in the form of a self-folding sheet that is capable of origami-style autonomous folding. We describe the hardware device we designed and fabricated. The device is a sheet with a box-pleated pattern and an integrated electronic substrate and actuators. The sheet is programmed and controlled to achieve different shapes using an idea called sticker programming. We describe the sticker controller and its instantiation. We also describe the algorithms for programming and controlling a given sheet to self-fold into a desired shape. Finally we present experiments with a 4x4 hardware device and an 8x8 hardware device.
  • Task Allocation with Executable Coalitions in Multirobot Tasks Authors: Zhang, Yu (Tony); Parker, Lynne
    In our prior work, we proposed the IQ-ASyMTRe architecture with a measure of information quality to reason about forming coalitions in multirobot tasks. The formed coalitions are guaranteed to be executable, given the current configurations of the robots and environment. A cost and a quality measure are associated with each coalition to further determine its utility for the task. In this paper, we show that IQ-ASyMTRe-like architectures can be utilized to significantly reduce the overall complexity of task allocation by considering only executable coalitions. For implementation, we apply a layering technique such that most existing methods for task allocation can be easily incorporated. Furthermore, we introduce a general process to address situations in which no executable coalitions are available for certain tasks, and integrate it with IQ-ASyMTRe to achieve more autonomy. Such an approach is able to autonomously decompose unsatisfied preconditions of the required task behaviors into satisfiable components, in order to generate partial order plans for them accordingly. We show how this process can be implemented using a market-based approach. Simulation results are provided to demonstrate these techniques.
  • Mathematical Programming for Multi-Vehicle Motion Planning Problems Authors: Abichandani, Pramod; Ford, Gabriel; Benson, Hande; Kam, Moshe
    Real world Multi-Vehicle Motion Planning (MVMP) problems require the optimization of suitable performance measures under an array of complex and challenging constraints involving kinematics, dynamics, communication connectivity, target tracking, and collision avoidance. The general MVMP problem can thus be formulated as a mathematical program (MP). In this paper we present a mathematical programming (MP) framework that captures the salient features of the general MVMP problem. To demonstrate the use of this framework for the formulation and solution of MVMP problems, we examine in detail four representative works and summarize several other related works. As MP solution algorithms and associated numerical solvers continue to develop, we anticipate that MP solution techniques will be applied to an increasing number of MVMP problems and that the framework and formulations presented in this paper may serve as a guide for future MVMP research.
  • Decentralized Multi-Robot Cooperation with Auctioned POMDPs Authors: Capitan, Jesus; Spaan, Matthijs; Merino, Luis; Ollero, Anibal
    Planning under uncertainty faces a scalability problem when considering multi-robot teams, as the information space scales exponentially with the number of robots. To address this issue, this paper proposes to decentralize multi-agent Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDPs) while maintaining cooperation between robots by using POMDP policy auctions. Also, communication models in the multi-agent POMDP literature severely mismatch with real inter-robot communication. We address this issue by applying a decentralized data fusion method in order to efficiently maintain a joint belief state among the robots. The paper focuses on a cooperative tracking application, in which several robots have to jointly track a moving target of interest. The proposed ideas are illustrated in real multi-robot experiments, showcasing the flexible and robust cooperation that our techniques can provide.