Impact of Heterogeneity in Multi-Robot Systems on Collective Behaviors Studied Using a Search and Rescue Problem

12/08/2020 ∙ by Sanjay Sarma O V, et al. ∙ 0

Many species in nature demonstrate symbiotic relationships leading to emergent behaviors through cooperation, which are sometimes beyond the scope of the partnerships within the same species. These symbiotic relationships are classified as mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism based on the benefit levels involved. While these partnerships are ubiquitous in nature, it is imperative to understand the benefits of collective behaviors in designing heterogeneous multi-robot systems (HMRS). In this paper, we investigate the impact of heterogeneity on the performance of HMRS applied to a search and rescue problem. The groups consisting of searchers and rescuers, varied in the individual robot behaviors with multiple degrees of functionality overlap and group compositions, demonstrating various levels of heterogeneity. We propose a new technique to measure heterogeneity in the agents through the use of Behavior Trees and use it to obtain heterogeneity informatics from our Monte Carlo simulations. The results show a positive correlation between the group's heterogeneity measure and the rescue efficiency demonstrating benefits in most of the scenarios. However, we also see cases where heterogeneity may hamper the group's abilities pointing to the need for determining the optimal heterogeneity in group required to maximally benefit from HMRS in real-world applications.

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