SYSTEMATIC APPROACH FOR ROLE ASSIGNMENT IN MOBILE ROBOTS USING LEADER–FOLLOWER APPROACH: EXPERIMENTAL OBSERVATIONS

Madhevan Balasundaram and Sreekumar Muthuswamy

Keywords

Multirobot coordination, leader–follower approach, role assignment,robot navigation, robot motion planning

Abstract

This experimental work investigates a novel role assignment (RA) scheme developed for multi-robots and a platform to communicate among these multi-robots through a Wi-Fi network. This RA scheme identifies a new leader robot if a previously assigned leader robot within the robot team fails. Three different types of RA scheme have been developed and tested under various types of environment with obstacles and environmental constraints. They are (i) environment with no constraints in which the leader fails, (ii) environment with constraints in which the leader fails and (iii) environment with constraints in which the leader and one or more followers fails. The robot team considered for this work consists of one leader robot and three followers. The leader robot is equipped with sensors such as laser range sensor, sonar and gyro, whereas the followers are equipped with fewer sensors. The optimal time taken to reach the goal with RA has been determined experimentally. When the environment is known with obstacles and environmental constraints, the average time to overcome a constraint is found as 55.43 s and average RA time is 475 s, whereas, for unknown environments, the corresponding values are 63.89 and 480 s. The experiments demonstrate that the results obtained are in close agreement with the analytical results and with less than 2% error. This error is due to the packet loss present in the communication protocol.

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