A Cooperative object transport system with behavior-based robots
Ramaswamy Balasubramanian, Arun Prassanth
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Cooperative object transport is an intriguing research area in swarm and multi-agent robotic systems. Global-view is a challenge in cooperative transport where different aspects such as providing the global picture, what information to share and how to share are still being explored. One simple way of addressing global view is by using a situated agent which has an elevated view of the environment and capable of communicating it. Various works that employ this strategy often rely on a centralized or global control where the agent with the global view makes the decisions. We propose a strategy modeled after Behavior-Based Robotics principles which enables the robots to react to the environment and thereby achieve cooperation to accomplish the task. Instead of relying on a sophisticated controller or a centralized leader, the robots simply react to the stimuli in different ways by executing simple behaviors from their own repertoire. The 'Observer', a situated agent with the global view has no decision-making responsibilities and simply serves as a means of stimulus. Also, the Observer employs simple techniques to extract and share very limited information with other agents. Different experiments were performed with real robots and various metrics were collected to demonstrate and evaluate the strategy.