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From design to deployment: decentralized coordination of heterogeneous robotic teams

David St-Onge, Vivek Shankar Varadharajan, Ivan Švogor and Giovanni Beltrame

Article (2020)

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Many applications benefit from the use of multiple robots, but their scalability and applicability are fundamentally limited when relying on a central control station. Getting beyond the centralized approach can increase the complexity of the embedded software, the sensitivity to the network topology, and render the deployment on physical devices tedious and error-prone. This work introduces a software-based solution to cope with these challenges on commercial hardware. We bring together our previous work on Buzz, the swarm-oriented programming language, and the many contributions of the Robotic Operating System (ROS) community into a reliable workflow, from rapid prototyping of decentralized behaviors up to robust field deployment. The Buzz programming language is a hardware independent, domain-specific (swarm-oriented), and composable language. From simulation to the field, a Buzz script can stay unmodified and almost seamlessly applicable to all units of a heterogeneous robotic team. We present the software structure of our solution, and the swarm-oriented paradigms it encompasses. While the design of a new behavior can be achieved on a lightweight simulator, we show how our security mechanisms enhance field deployment robustness. In addition, developers can update their scripts in the field using a safe software release mechanism. Integrating Buzz in ROS, adding safety mechanisms and granting field updates are core contributions essential to swarm robotics deployment: from simulation to the field. We show the applicability of our work with the implementation of two practical decentralized scenarios: a robust generic task allocation strategy and an optimized area coverage algorithm. Both behaviors are explained and tested with simulations, then experimented with heterogeneous ground-and-air robotic teams.

Uncontrolled Keywords

decentralized behaviors; swarm intelligence; heterogeneous robotic teams; over-the-air update; swarm systems; control framework; swarm programming

Department: Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering
Research Center: Other
Grant number: Strategic Partnership Grant 479149-2015
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/45047/
Journal Title: Frontiers in Robotics and AI (vol. 7)
Publisher: Frontiers Media
DOI: 10.3389/frobt.2020.00051
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2020.00051
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2023 15:01
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 01:20
Cite in APA 7: St-Onge, D., Varadharajan, V. S., Švogor, I., & Beltrame, G. (2020). From design to deployment: decentralized coordination of heterogeneous robotic teams. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 7, 51 (16 pages). https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2020.00051


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