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Building cooperatively 3-D maps of unknown environments is one of the application fields of multi-robot systems. This article introduces a distributed architecture, within a probabilistic framework for vision-based 3-D mapping, whereby each robot is committed to cooperate with other robots through information sharing. An entropy-based measure of information utility is defined, which a robot uses for communicating to its teammates the most useful measurements, thus preventing the robot to overwhelm communication resources with redundant information. Experiments with real robots, equipped with stereo-vision, yielded important conclusions about the way robots should cooperate on sharing information.
Date of Conference: 18-22 April 2005