MULTI-ROBOT TERRAIN COVERAGE BY CONSTRUCTING MULTIPLE SPANNING TREES SIMULTANEOUSLY

K.S. Senthilkumar and K.K. Bharadwaj

Keywords

Multirobot, spanning tree, terrain coverage, online terrain exploration, anttype robots

Abstract

There are several remarkable research attempts on mobile robot terrain coverage based on genetic algorithms, spanning trees and spiral filling paths in the robotics literature. The applications of terrain coverage methods include harvesting, vacuum cleaning, demining and intrusion detection. This paper presents a novel complete terrain coverage algorithm for a planar bounded environment by multiple robots simultaneously. This algorithm performs coverage of the surface regardless of the shape of the terrain by decomposing the terrain into grid cells and constructs multiple spanning trees. The proposed approach is capable of handling multiple robots, which can divide the area among themselves to achieve a collision-free coverage. Use of multiple robot can accelerate the process of coverage, thus improve efficiency, which can be evaluated in terms of area covered over time period. Specifically, we study ant-type robots and how they can cover the terrain leaving marks on the terrain, similar to the nature of ants. These marks can be sensed by all robots and allow them to cover the terrain without direct communication with each other. We present a simulation study and compare our algorithm with the existing algorithms.

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