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Sold!: auction methods for multirobot coordination

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2 Author(s)
Gerkey, B.P. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA ; Mataric, M.J.

The key to utilizing the potential of multirobot systems is cooperation. How can we achieve cooperation in systems composed of failure-prone autonomous robots operating in noisy, dynamic environments? We present a method of dynamic task allocation for groups of such robots. We implemented and tested an auction-based task allocation system which we call MURDOCH, built upon a principled, resource centric, publish/subscribe communication model. A variant of the Contract Net Protocol, MURDOCH produces a distributed approximation to a global optimum of resource usage. We validated MURDOCH in two very different domains: a tightly coupled multirobot physical manipulation task and a loosely coupled multirobot experiment in long-term autonomy. The primary contribution of the paper is to show empirically that distributed negotiation mechanisms such as MURDOCH are viable and effective for coordinating physical multirobot systems.

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Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 5 )