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A Comparative Study between Optimization and Market-Based Approaches to Multi-Robot Task Allocation

DOI: 10.1155/2013/256524

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Abstract:

This paper presents a comparative study between optimization-based and market-based approaches used for solving the Multirobot task allocation (MRTA) problem that arises in the context of multirobot systems (MRS). The two proposed approaches are used to find the optimal allocation of a number of heterogeneous robots to a number of heterogeneous tasks. The two approaches were extensively tested over a number of test scenarios in order to test their capability of handling complex heavily constrained MRS applications that include extended number of tasks and robots. Finally, a comparative study is implemented between the two approaches and the results show that the optimization-based approach outperforms the market-based approach in terms of optimal allocation and computational time. 1. Introduction In the last few years, the field of research in mobile robotics has encountered a significant shift as the researchers in this field have recently started focusing on MRS rather than single-robot systems. This increased interest in the community of mobile robotics research towards MRS comes from the significant advantages and higher potential provided by MRS than single-robot systems. The advantages of a robot team are many; some examples of these advantages include, but are not limited to, resolving task complexity, increased system reliability, increased system performance, and finally easier and simpler design [1]. One of the main areas of research in this field is the task allocation problem in MRS, where the mapping of robots to tasks is done in order to increase the overall performance of the system. The task allocation problem is a major issue in MRS as it focuses on the proper utilization of the available resource. In MRS, the available resources are the robots which are used to solve a problem or to perform a certain task. Thus, in order to increase the performance of the system, one must efficiently utilizes the available robots in order to solve the required tasks. Since the decision of which robot will do which task has a significant effect on the performance of the system, the allocation of the tasks to the proper robots strongly affects the performance of the system [2]. The task allocation problem is proved to be one of the toughest problems especially when it comes to complex heterogeneous robot teams that are required to solve and execute complex problems and tasks. The heterogeneity of the robots simply indicates that the robot team consists of robots that have different features such as different capabilities and skills, different

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