Decentralized Connectivity Maintenance for Multi-Robot Systems Under Motion and Sensing Uncertainties

Akshay Shetty, Timmy Hussain, and Grace Gao

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Communication connectivity is desirable for the safe and efficient operation of multi-robot systems. While decentralized algorithms for connectivity maintenance have been explored in recent literature, the majority of these works do not account for robot motion and sensing uncertainties. These uncertainties are inherent in practical robots and result in robots deviating from their desired positions which could potentially result in a loss of connectivity. In this paper, we present a decentralized connectivity maintenance algorithm accounting for robot motion and sensing uncertainties (DCMU). We, first, propose a novel weighted graph definition for the multi-robot system that accounts for the aforementioned uncertainties along with realistic connectivity constraints such as line-of-sight connectivity and collision avoidance. We, then, design a decentralized gradient-based controller for connectivity maintenance with which we derive the gradients of the weighted graph edge weights required for computing the control. Finally, we perform multiple simulations to validate the connectivity maintenance performance of our DCMU algorithm under robot motion and sensing uncertainties, showing an improvement compared to previous work.
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Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 70, Number 1
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