Perpetual Robot Swarm: Long-Term Autonomy of Mobile Robots Using On-the-fly Inductive Charging


Arvin F., Watson S., TURGUT A. E. , Espinosa J., Krajnik T., Lennox B.

JOURNAL OF INTELLIGENT & ROBOTIC SYSTEMS, vol.92, pp.395-412, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 92
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10846-017-0673-8
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF INTELLIGENT & ROBOTIC SYSTEMS
  • Page Numbers: pp.395-412

Abstract

Swarm robotics studies the intelligent collective behaviour emerging from long-term interactions of large number of simple robots. However, maintaining a large number of robots operational for long time periods requires significant battery capacity, which is an issue for small robots. Therefore, re-charging systems such as automated battery-swapping stations have been implemented. These systems require that the robots interrupt, albeit shortly, their activity, which influences the swarm behaviour. In this paper, a low-cost on-the-fly wireless charging system, composed of several charging cells, is proposed for use in swarm robotic research studies. To determine the system's ability to support perpetual swarm operation, a probabilistic model that takes into account the swarm size, robot behaviour and charging area configuration, is outlined. Based on the model, a prototype system with 12 charging cells and a small mobile robot, Mona, was developed. A series of long-term experiments with different arenas and behavioural configurations indicated the model's accuracy and demonstrated the system's ability to support perpetual operation of multi-robotic system.