Safe Open-Loop Strategies for Handling Intermittent Communications in Multi-Robot Systems


In multi-robot systems where a central decision maker is specifying the movement of each individual robot, a communication failure can severely impair the performance of the system. This paper develops a motion strategy that allows robots to safely handle critical communication failures for such multi-robot architectures. For each robot, the proposed algorithm computes a time horizon over which collisions with other robots are guaranteed not to occur. These safe time horizons are included in the commands being transmitted to the individual robots. In the event of a communication failure, the robots execute the last received velocity commands for the corresponding safe time horizons leading to a provably safe open-loop motion strategy. The resulting algorithm is computationally effective and is agnostic to the task that the robots are performing. The efficacy of the strategy is verified in simulation as well as on a team of differential-drive mobile robots.

Comments: This article is a longer and more detailed version of a publication which will be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2017

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