Title: Percolation enhanced prioritised multi-robot exploration of unstructured environments

Authors: Sebahattin Topal, Ismet Erkmen, Aydan M. Erkmen

Addresses: Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. ' Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. ' Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

Abstract: Continuous and rapid coverage of the unstructured disaster areas in search of possible survivors is a time critical operation where prior information about the environment is not available or very limited. Human navigation of such areas is definitely not feasible due to the nature of the debris. Localisation of possible survivors necessitates the uninterrupted navigation of robotic aiding devices within the rubble without getting trapped into dead ends. This paper introduces firstly a goal-oriented exploration approach where prior information about possible survivors| location information may be found. Whenever prior information is not available, the system is further extended as a second novel methodology to a prioritised exploration, guided by a percolation inspired finite state automaton that gives priority to navigation through connected voids. The evaluation of the proposed methodologies is done for different simulation scenarios with different number of robots cooperatively carrying the exploration task.

Keywords: multi-robot systems; unstructured environments; multiple robots; robot coordination; prioritised exploration; mobile robots; percolation theory; emergency management; disaster areas; robot navigation; disaster survivors; survivor localisation; goal-oriented exploration; robotic exploration; simulation; robot cooperation; robot collaboration; finite state automaton; connected voids.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRIS.2010.036867

International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems, 2010 Vol.2 No.3/4, pp.217 - 225

Published online: 12 Nov 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article