Multi-Robot Coalitions Formation with Deadlines: Complexity Analysis and Solutions

PLoS One. 2017 Jan 24;12(1):e0170659. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170659. eCollection 2017.


Multi-robot task allocation is one of the main problems to address in order to design a multi-robot system, very especially when robots form coalitions that must carry out tasks before a deadline. A lot of factors affect the performance of these systems and among them, this paper is focused on the physical interference effect, produced when two or more robots want to access the same point simultaneously. To our best knowledge, this paper presents the first formal description of multi-robot task allocation that includes a model of interference. Thanks to this description, the complexity of the allocation problem is analyzed. Moreover, the main contribution of this paper is to provide the conditions under which the optimal solution of the aforementioned allocation problem can be obtained solving an integer linear problem. The optimal results are compared to previous allocation algorithms already proposed by the first two authors of this paper and with a new method proposed in this paper. The results obtained show how the new task allocation algorithms reach up more than an 80% of the median of the optimal solution, outperforming previous auction algorithms with a huge reduction of the execution time.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cybernetics / statistics & numerical data
  • Efficiency
  • Robotics* / methods
  • Time Factors

Grant support

This work has been partially supported by project DPI2014-57746-C03-2-R and FEDER funds.