Proceedings Abstracts of the Twenty-Third International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Rolling Dispersion for Robot Teams / 2473
Elizabeth A. Jensen, Maria Gini

Dispersing a team of robots into an unknown and dangerous environment, such as a collapsed building, can provide information about structural damage and locations of survivors and help rescuers plan their actions. We propose a rolling dispersion algorithm, which makes use of a small number of robots and achieves full exploration. The robots disperse as much as possible while maintaining communication, and then advance as a group, leaving behind beacons to mark explored areas and provide a path back to the entrance. The novelty of this algorithm comes from the manner in which the robots continue their exploration as a group after reaching the maximum dispersion possible while staying in contact with each other. We use simulation to show that the algorithm works in multiple environments and for varying numbers of robots.