Occlusion-Based Cooperative Transport with a Swarm of Miniature Mobile Robots

Citation:

Chen J, Gauci M, Li W, Kolling A, Groß R. Occlusion-Based Cooperative Transport with a Swarm of Miniature Mobile Robots. Robotics, IEEE Transactions on [Internet]. 2015;31 (2) :307–321.
Occlusion-Based Cooperative Transport with a Swarm of Miniature Mobile Robots

Abstract:

This paper proposes a strategy for transporting a large object to a goal using a large number of mobile robots that are significantly smaller than the object. The robots only push the object at positions where the direct line of sight to the goal is occluded by the object. This strategy is fully decentralized and requires neither explicit communication nor specific manipulation mechanisms. We prove that it can transport any convex object in a planar environment. We implement this strategy on the e-puck robotic platform and present systematic experiments with a group of 20 e-pucks transporting three objects of different shapes. The objects were successfully transported to the goal in 43 out of 45 trials. When using a mobile goal, teleoperated by a human, the object could be navigated through an environment with obstacles. We also tested the strategy in a 3-D environment using physics-based computer simulation. Due to its simplicity, the transport strategy is particularly suited for implementation on microscale robotic systems.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 04/22/2015