Multi-Robot 3D Coverage of Unknown Areas

Abstract : The problem of deploying a team of flying robots to perform surveillance coverage mission over an {\em unknown} terrain of complex and non-convex morphology is presented. In such a mission, the robots attempt to maximize the part of the terrain that is visible while keeping the distance between each point in the terrain and the closest team member as small as possible. A trade-off between these two objectives should be fulfilled given the physical constraints and limitations imposed at the particular application. As the terrain's morphology is unknown and it can be quite complex and non-convex, standard algorithms are not applicable to the particular problem treated in this paper. To overcome this, a new approach based on the Cognitive-based Adaptive Optimization (CAO) algorithm is proposed and evaluated. A fundamental property of this approach is that it shares the same convergence characteristics as those of constrained gradient-descent algorithms (which require perfect knowledge of the terrain's morphology and optimize surveillance coverage subject to the constraints the team has to satisfy). Rigorous mathematical arguments and extensive simulations establish that the proposed approach provides a scalable and efficient methodology that incorporates any particular physical constraints and limitations able to navigate the robots to an arrangement that (locally) optimizes surveillance coverage.
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Alessandro Renzaglia, Lefteris Doitsidis, Agostino Martinelli, Elias Kosmatopoulos. Multi-Robot 3D Coverage of Unknown Areas. International Journal of Robotics Research, SAGE Publications, 2012, vol 31 no 6 pp 738-752. ⟨10.1177/0278364912439332⟩. ⟨hal-00751309⟩

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