Provably Safe Multi-Robot Coordination With Unreliable Communication

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Anna Mannucci, Lucia Pallottino, Federico Pecora
Provably Safe Multi-Robot Coordination With Unreliable Communication
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (4:4, 2019)

Abstract

Coordination is a core problem in multi-robot systems, since it is a key to ensure safety and efficiency. Both centralized and decentralized solutions have been proposed, however, most assume perfect communication. This letter proposes a centralized method that removes this assumption, and is suitable for fleets of robots driven by generic second-order dynamics. We formally prove that: first, safety is guaranteed if communication errors are limited to delays; and second, the probability of unsafety is bounded by a function of the channel model in networks with packet loss. The approach exploits knowledge of the network’s non-idealities to ensure the best possible performance of the fleet. The method is validated via several experiments with simulated robots.