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Sparse robot swarms: Moving swarms to real world applications

Sparse robot swarms: Moving swarms to real world applications
Sparse robot swarms: Moving swarms to real world applications
Robot swarms are groups of robots that each act autonomously based on only local perception and coordination with neighbouring robots. While current swarm implementations can be large in size (e.g. 1000 robots), they are typically constrained to working in highly controlled indoor environments. Moreover, a common property of swarms is the underlying assumption that the robots act in close proximity of each other (e.g. 10 body-lengths away), and typically employ uninterrupted, situated, close-range communication for coordination. Many real world applications, including environmental monitoring and precision agriculture, however, require scalable groups of robots to act jointly over large distances (e.g. 1000 body-lengths), rendering the use of dense swarms impractical. Using a dense swarm for such applications would be invasive to the environment and unrealistic in terms of mission deployment, maintenance and post-mission recovery.
To address this problem, we propose the sparse swarm concept, and illustrate its use in the context of four application scenarios. For one scenario, which requires a group of rovers to traverse, and monitor, a forest environment, we identify the challenges involved at all levels in developing a sparse swarm—from the hardware platform to communication-constrained coordination algorithms—and discuss potential solutions. We outline open questions of theoretical and practical nature, which we hope will bring the concept of sparse swarms to fruition.
communication networks, field robotics, forest robots, information propagation, long-range radio, multirobot systems, sparse coupling, swarm robotics
Tarapore, Danesh
fe8ec8ae-1fad-4726-abef-84b538542ee4
Gross, Roderich
840b9b01-4a86-48e5-bc41-168fca6e71a2
Zauner, Klaus-Peter
c8b22dbd-10e6-43d8-813b-0766f985cc97
Tarapore, Danesh
fe8ec8ae-1fad-4726-abef-84b538542ee4
Gross, Roderich
840b9b01-4a86-48e5-bc41-168fca6e71a2
Zauner, Klaus-Peter
c8b22dbd-10e6-43d8-813b-0766f985cc97

Tarapore, Danesh, Gross, Roderich and Zauner, Klaus-Peter (2020) Sparse robot swarms: Moving swarms to real world applications. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 7, [83]. (doi:10.3389/frobt.2020.00083).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Robot swarms are groups of robots that each act autonomously based on only local perception and coordination with neighbouring robots. While current swarm implementations can be large in size (e.g. 1000 robots), they are typically constrained to working in highly controlled indoor environments. Moreover, a common property of swarms is the underlying assumption that the robots act in close proximity of each other (e.g. 10 body-lengths away), and typically employ uninterrupted, situated, close-range communication for coordination. Many real world applications, including environmental monitoring and precision agriculture, however, require scalable groups of robots to act jointly over large distances (e.g. 1000 body-lengths), rendering the use of dense swarms impractical. Using a dense swarm for such applications would be invasive to the environment and unrealistic in terms of mission deployment, maintenance and post-mission recovery.
To address this problem, we propose the sparse swarm concept, and illustrate its use in the context of four application scenarios. For one scenario, which requires a group of rovers to traverse, and monitor, a forest environment, we identify the challenges involved at all levels in developing a sparse swarm—from the hardware platform to communication-constrained coordination algorithms—and discuss potential solutions. We outline open questions of theoretical and practical nature, which we hope will bring the concept of sparse swarms to fruition.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 May 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 July 2020
Keywords: communication networks, field robotics, forest robots, information propagation, long-range radio, multirobot systems, sparse coupling, swarm robotics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441669
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441669
PURE UUID: 320f8cb1-b858-4b66-abb1-534314908a0d
ORCID for Danesh Tarapore: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3226-6861

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Jun 2020 16:55
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:10

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Contributors

Author: Danesh Tarapore ORCID iD
Author: Roderich Gross
Author: Klaus-Peter Zauner

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