Journal Article Hitchhiking Robots: A Collaborative Approach for Efficient Multi-Robot Navigation in Indoor Environments

Ravankar, Abhijeet  ,  Ravankar, Ankit A.  ,  Kobayashi, Yukinori  ,  Emaru, Takanori

17 ( 8 )  , p.1878 , 2017-08 , MDPI
Hitchhiking is a means of transportation gained by asking other people for a (free) ride. We developed a multi-robot system which is the first of its kind to incorporate hitchhiking in robotics, and discuss its advantages. Our method allows the hitchhiker robot to skip redundant computations in navigation like path planning, localization, obstacle avoidance, and map update by completely relying on the driver robot. This allows the hitchhiker robot, which performs only visual servoing, to save computation while navigating on the common path with the driver robot. The driver robot, in the proposed system performs all the heavy computations in navigation and updates the hitchhiker about the current localized positions and new obstacle positions in the map. The proposed system is robust to recover from 'driver-lost' scenario which occurs due to visual servoing failure. We demonstrate robot hitchhiking in real environments considering factors like service-time and task priority with different start and goal configurations of the driver and hitchhiker robots. We also discuss the admissible characteristics of the hitchhiker, when hitchhiking should be allowed and when not, through experimental results.

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