Robotic Communication Approaches

Groups of robots are likely to accomplish certain tasks more robustly and quickly than single robots. Many robotic domains such as robotic search and rescue, vacuuming, de-mining, and waste clean up are characterized by limited operating spaces where robots are likely to collide. Some type of information transfer is likely to be helpful in facilitating coherent behavior in robotic group tasks and thud better achieve their tasks in order to maintain group cohesion under such conditions. This is especially true as robotic domains re typically fraught with uncertainty and dynamic such as hardware failure, noisy sensors, and changing environmental conditions.

Communication should always be advantageous-the more information a robot has the better. However, assuming communication has a cost, one also must consider the resources consumed in communication, and whether the communication cost appropriately matches the needs of the domain. We believe that different communication schemes are best suited for different environment conditions. Because nobody communication method is always most effective, on way to improve communication in coordination is to find a mechanism for switching between different communication protocols so it is match with the given environment.

The model explicitly includes resources such as the energy and time spent communicating. In situations where conflicts between group members are common, more robust means of communication are most effective.

There are two novel domain independent adaptive communication methods that use communication cost estimates to alter their communication approach based on domain conditions. The first approach, robot switch uniformly their communication scheme between differing communication approaches. Robots contain full implementations of several communication methods. The second approach represents a generalized communication scheme that allows each robot to adapt to its domain conditions independently. Each robot creates its own radius of communication range to create a sliding scale of communication between localized to centralized methods.

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