Maintaining Team Coherence under the Velocity Obstacle Framework

TitleMaintaining Team Coherence under the Velocity Obstacle Framework
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsKimmel, A, Dobson, A, Bekris, KE
Conference NameEleventh International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS)
Date Published06/2012
Conference LocationValencia, Spain

Many multi-agent applications may involve a notion of spa- tial coherence. For instance, simulations of virtual agents of- ten need to model a coherent group or crowd. Alternatively, robots may prefer to stay within a pre-specified communica- tion range. This paper proposes an extension of a decentral- ized, reactive collision avoidance framework, which defines obstacles in the velocity space, known as Velocity Obsta- cles (VOs), for coherent groups of agents. The extension, referred to in this work as a Loss of Communication Ob- stacle (LOCO), aims to maintain proximity among agents by imposing constraints in the velocity space and restricting the set of feasible controls. If the introduction of LOCOs results in a problem that is too restrictive, then the proximity con- straints are relaxed in order to maintain collision avoidance. If agents break their proximity constraints, a method is ap- plied to reconnect them. The approach is fast and integrates nicely with the Velocity Obstacle framework. It yields im- proved coherence for groups of robots connected through an input constraint graph that are moving with constant veloc- ity. Simulated environments involving a single team moving among static obstacles, as well as multiple teams operating in the same environment, are considered in the experiments and evaluated for collisions, computational cost and prox- imity constraint maintenance. The experiments show that improved coherence is achieved while maintaining collision avoidance, at a small computational cost and path quality degradation.

Refereed DesignationRefereed