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Multirobot Coordination: From Specification to Provably Correct Execution

Speaker: Nora Ayanian

March 07, 2013 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: TROY 2012
Hosted By: Dr. Elliot Anshelevich (x6491)


Using a group of robots in place of a single complex robot to accomplish a task has many benefits, including simplified system repair, less down time, and lower cost. Combining heterogeneous groups of these multi-robot systems allows addressing multiple subtasks in parallel, reducing the time it takes to address many problems, such as search and rescue, reconnaissance, and mine detection. These missions demand different roles for robots, necessitating a strategy for coordinated autonomy while respecting any constraints the environment may impose. Distributed computation of control policies for heterogeneous multirobot systems is particularly challenging because of inter-robot constraints such as communication maintenance and collision avoidance, the need to coordinate robots within groups, and the dynamics of individual robots.

I will present algorithms for synthesizing distributed globally convergent feedback policies for navigating groups of heterogeneous robots in known constrained environments. Provably correct by construction, these algorithms automatically and concurrently solve both the path planning and control synthesis subproblems by decomposing the space into cells and sequentially composing local feedback controllers. The approach is useful for many decentralized applications of multirobot systems including task allocation, navigation in formation, and human-robot interaction. Finally, I will extend the algorithm to partially known environments, where dynamic task reassignment allows the team to cope with unknown hazards in the environment while still providing guarantees on convergence and safety.


Nora Ayanian is a postdoctoral associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. She received a M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Last updated: March 1, 2013