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TAMER: Task Allocation in Multi-robot Systems Through an Entity-Relationship Model
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9051-929X
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7852-4582
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5224-8302
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5832-5452
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2019 (English)In: PRIMA 2019: Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems, 2019, p. 478-486Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Multi-robot task allocation (MRTA) problems have been studied extensively in the past decades. As a result, several classifications have been proposed in the literature targeting different aspects of MRTA, with often a few commonalities between them. The goal of this paper is twofold. First, a comprehensive overview of early work on existing MRTA taxonomies is provided, focusing on their differences and similarities. Second, the MRTA problem is modelled using an Entity-Relationship (ER) conceptual formalism to provide a structured representation of the most relevant aspects, including the ones proposed within previous taxonomies. Such representation has the advantage of (i) representing MRTA problems in a systematic way, (ii) providing a formalism that can be easily transformed into a software infrastructure, and (iii) setting the baseline for the definition of knowledge bases, that can be used for automated reasoning in MRTA problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 478-486
National Category
Engineering and Technology Computer Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-46316DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-33792-6_32ISI: 000587904300032Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85076411190ISBN: 978-3-030-33791-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-46316DiVA, id: diva2:1377836
Conference
The 22nd International Conference on Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems PRIMA'19, 28 Oct 2019, Turin, Italy
Projects
DPAC - Dependable Platforms for Autonomous systems and ControlUnicorn -Sustainable, peaceful and efficient robotic refuse handlingAggregate Farming in the CloudAvailable from: 2019-12-12 Created: 2019-12-12 Last updated: 2021-11-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modelling and Control of the Collaborative Behavior of Adaptive Autonomous Agents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modelling and Control of the Collaborative Behavior of Adaptive Autonomous Agents
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research on autonomous agents and vehicles has gained momentum in the past years, which is reflected in the extensive body of literature and the investment of big players of the industry in the development of products such as self-driving cars. Additionally, these systems are envisioned to continuously communicate and cooperate with one another in order to adapt to dynamic circumstances and unforeseeable events, and as a result will they fulfil their goals even more efficiently.The facilitation of such dynamic collaboration and the modelling of interactions between different actors (software agents, humans) remains an open challenge.This thesis tackles the problem of enabling dynamic collaboration by investigating the automated adjustment of autonomy of different agents, called Adaptive Autonomy (AA). An agent, in this context, is a software able to process and react to sensory inputs in the environment in which it is situated in, and is additionally capable of autonomous actions. In this work, the collaborative adaptive autonomous behaviour of agents is shaped by their willingness to interact with other agents, that captures the disposition of an agent to give and ask for help, based on different factors that represent the agent's state and its interests.The AA approach to collaboration is used in two different domains: (i) the hunting mobile search problem, and (ii) the coverage problem of mobile wireless sensor networks. In both cases, the proposed approach is compared to state-of-art methods.Furthermore, the thesis contributes on a conceptual level by combining and integrating the AA approach -- which is purely distributed -- with a high-level mission planner, in order to exploit the ability of dealing with local and contingent problems through the AA approach, while minimising the requests for a re-plan to the mission planner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2020
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 314
National Category
Engineering and Technology Computer Systems
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-47905 (URN)978-91-7485-468-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-06-12, Västerås Campus (+ Online/Zoom), Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-05-08 Created: 2020-05-06 Last updated: 2022-11-08Bibliographically approved
2. Multi-Agent Mission Planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multi-Agent Mission Planning
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Multi-Agent Systems (MASs) have been utilized in various settings and frameworks, and have thus been successfully applied in many applications to achieve different goals. It has been shown that MASs are more cost-effective as compared to building a single agent with all the capabilities a mission may require. Moreover, the cost is not the only driving factor for the adoption of MASs, e.g., safety is another important aspect: Deploying a group of agents, in a harsh or extreme environment, instead of a human team decreases the safety risks. Furthermore, MASs offer more flexibility and robustness when compared to a single-agent solution. The flexibility comes from dividing resources into separate groups, while robustness comes from the fact that a critical error in one agent does not necessarily endanger the success of a mission. Note that a mission may have many different constraints and aspects, however, the most trivial case has a single agent and a single task. 

These kinds of missions can be planned by a human operator, overseeing a mission, without the need for an automated planner. On the other hand, more complex missions, that are utilizing a large number of heterogeneous agents and tasks, as well as constraints (precedence, synchronization, etc.) are not that trivial to plan for a human operator. These complex problems pose a great challenge to making a feasible plan, let alone the best possible one. Moreover, the increase in the power of available computing platforms in robotic systems has allowed the utilization of parallel task execution. More specifically, it allowed for possible parallelism in sensing, computation, motion, and manipulation tasks. This in turn had the benefit of allowing the creation of more complex robotic missions. However, it came at the cost of increased complexity for the optimization of the task allocation problem. To circumvent these issues, an automated planner is necessary. These types of problems are notoriously difficult to solve, and it may take too long for an optimal plan to be found. Therefore, a balance between optimality and computation time taken to produce a plan become very important.

This thesis deals with the formal definition of two particular Multi-Robot Task Allocation (MRTA) problem configurations used to represent multi-agent mission planning problems. More specifically, the contribution of this thesis can be grouped into three categories. 

Firstly, this work proposes a model to represent different problem configurations, also referred to as missions, in a structured way. This model is called TAMER, and it also allows the addition of new dimensions in a more systematic way, expanding the number of problems that can be described compared to previously proposed MRTA taxonomies.

Secondly, this thesis defines and provides two different problem formulations, in a form of Mixed-Integer Linear Problem formulation, of the Extended Colored Travelling Salesman Problem (ECTSP). These models are implemented and verified in the CPLEX optimization tool on the selected problem instances. In addition, a sub-optimal approach to solving these complex problems is devised. Proposed solutions are based on the Genetic Algorithm (GA) approach, and they are compared to the solutions obtained by state-of-the-art (and state-of-practice) solvers, i.e., CPLEX. The advantage of using GA for planning over classical approaches is that it has better scalability that enables it to find solutions for large-scale problems. Although those solutions are, in the majority of cases, sub-optimal they are obtained much faster than with other exact methods. Another advantage is represented in a form of "anytime stop" option. In time-critical operations, it is important to have the option to stop the planning process and use the sub-optimal solution when it is required. 

Lastly, this work addresses the one dimension of the MRTA problem that has not caught much of the research attention in the past. In particular, problem configurations including Multi-Task (MT) robots have been neglected. To overcome the aforementioned problem, first, the cases in which task parallelism may be achieved have been defined. In addition, the distinction between physical and virtual tasks and their mutual relationship in terms of parallel task execution has been introduced. Two models have been proposed and compared. The first one is expressed as ILP and implemented in the CPLEX optimization tool. The other one is defined as a Constraint Programming (CP) model and implemented in CP optimization tools. Both solvers have been evaluated on a series of problem instances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2022
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 353
National Category
Robotics
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-56553 (URN)978-91-7485-540-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-01-31, Delta, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-11-22 Created: 2021-11-19 Last updated: 2022-01-10Bibliographically approved

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Miloradović, BrankoFrasheri, MirgitaCuruklu, BaranEkström, MikaelPapadopoulos, Alessandro

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