Dynamic Self-Configuration of an Ecology of Robots

R. Lundh, L. Karlsson and A. Saffiotti

There is a tendency today toward the study of distributed systems consisting of many heterogeneous, networked, cooperating robotic devices. We refer to a system of this type as an ecology of robots. We call functional configuration of this ecology a way to allocate and connect functionalities among its robots. In general, the same ecology can perform different tasks by using different configuration. Moreover, the same task can often be solved using different configurations, and which is the best one depends on the available resources. This potential flexibility of a robot ecology is reduced by the fact that, in most current approaches, configurations are pre-programmed by hand. In this paper, we propose a plan-based approach to automatically generate a preferred configuration of a robot ecology given a task, environment, and set of resources. In contrast to previous approaches, the state of the ecology is automatically acquired at planning time, and it is monitored during execution in order to reconfigure if a functionality fails. We illustrate these ideas on a specific instance of an ecology of robots, called PEIS Ecology. We also show an experiment run on our PEIS Ecology testbed, in which a robot needs to reconfigure when the original configuration fails.
R. Lundh, L. Karlsson and A. Saffiotti. Dynamic Self-Configuration of an Ecology of Robots. Proc. of the IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 3403-3409. San Diego, CA, 2007.
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