Connected Coordinated Motion Planning with Bounded Stretch

by   Sandor P. Fekete, et al.

We consider the problem of coordinated motion planning for a swarm of simple, identical robots: From a given start grid configuration of robots, we need to reach a desired target configuration via a sequence of parallel, continuous, collision-free robot motions, such that the set of robots induces a connected grid graph at all integer times. The objective is to minimize the makespan of the motion schedule, i.e., to reach the new configuration in a minimum amount of time. We show that this problem is NP-hard, even for deciding whether a makespan of 2 can be achieved, while it is possible to check in polynomial time whether a makespan of 1 can be achieved. On the algorithmic side, we establish simultaneous constant-factor approximation for two fundamental parameters, by achieving constant stretch for constant scale. Scaled shapes (which arise by increasing all dimensions of a given object by the same multiplicative factor) have been considered in previous seminal work on self-assembly, often with unbounded or logarithmic scale factors; we provide methods for a generalized scale factor, bounded by a constant. Moreover, our algorithm achieves a constant stretch factor: If mapping the start configuration to the target configuration requires a maximum Manhattan distance of d, then the total duration of our overall schedule is O(d), which is optimal up to constant factors.


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