New Task Allocation Methods for Robotic Swarms
We study a situation where a swarm of robots is deployed to solve multiple concurrent tasks in a confined arena. The tasks are announced by dedicated robots at different locations in the arena. Each task requires a certain number of robots to attend to it simultaneously. We address the problem of task allocation: how can the robots of the swarm assign themselves to one of the announced tasks in a distributed and efficient way? We propose two novel methods: one relies on simple reactive mechanisms that are based on interaction through light signals, while the other uses a more advanced gossip-based communication scheme to announce task requirements among the robots. We evaluate both methods, and compare their performance. We also address scalability and robustness issues, in order to understand the usefulness of the methods in different swarm deployment conditions.