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Towards Decentralized Heterogeneous Multi-Robot SLAM and Target Tracking

by   Ofer Dagan, et al.

In many robotics problems, there is a significant gain in collaborative information sharing between multiple robots, for exploration, search and rescue, tracking multiple targets, or mapping large environments. One of the key implicit assumptions when solving cooperative multi-robot problems is that all robots use the same (homogeneous) underlying algorithm. However, in practice, we want to allow collaboration between robots possessing different capabilities and that therefore must rely on heterogeneous algorithms. We present a system architecture and the supporting theory, to enable collaboration in a decentralized network of robots, where each robot relies on different estimation algorithms. To develop our approach, we focus on multi-robot simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) with multi-target tracking. Our theoretical framework builds on our idea of exploiting the conditional independence structure inherent to many robotics applications to separate between each robot's local inference (estimation) tasks and fuse only relevant parts of their non-equal, but overlapping probability density function (pdfs). We present a new decentralized graph-based approach to the multi-robot SLAM and tracking problem. We leverage factor graphs to split between different parts of the problem for efficient data sharing between robots in the network while enabling robots to use different local sparse landmark/dense/metric-semantic SLAM algorithms.


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