When roboticists create behaviors for teams of robots, they first build algorithms that focus on the intended task. Then they wrap safety behaviors around those primary algorithms to keep the machines from running into each other. Each robot is essentially given an invisible bubble that other robots must stay away from. As long as nothing touches the bubble, the robots move around without any issues. But that’s where the problems begin.
“When you have too many robots together, they get so focused on not colliding with each other that they eventually just stop moving,” said Georgia Tech roboticist Magnus Egerstedt, director of Georgia Tech’s Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Machines. “Their safety behaviors take over and the robots freeze. It’s impossible for them to go anywhere because any movement would cause their bubbles to pop.”
Egerstedt has created a solution. His team’s new algorithms allow any number of robots to move within inches of each other, without colliding, to complete their task — swapping locations on his lab floor. They are the first researchers to create such minimally invasive safety algorithms.
In technical speak, the bots are using a set of safe states and barrier certificates to ensure each stays in its own safe set throughout the entire maneuver.
“In everyday speak, we’ve shrunk the size of each robot’s bubble to make it as small as possible,” said Egerstedt. “Our system allows the robots to make the minimum amount of changes to their original behaviors in order to accomplish the task and not smack into each other.”
In a demo with four robots, the lab’s machines approach from four different areas, meet in the middle, circle counterclockwise within inches of each other, then fan out into opposite directions. In another demonstration, eight robots perform the same task, this time circling clockwise before dispersing. Instead of keeping their distance and taking the long way around their neighbors, the robots move very independently wherever they wish.
Avoiding collisions isn’t anything new in robotics. And Google’s self-driving cars are almost crash-free.
“But we haven’t seen thousands of autonomous cars on the road together yet,” Egerstedt said.
“Robots are very conservative — they want to make sure they’re safe. You couldn’t pack the interstate with self-driving cars with today’s technology.”
Egerstedt also said something similar to these algorithms could be used for the next generation of air traffic control. Instead of people directing the flow, planes will be given the authority in airspaces.
“They’ll have to be safer if we plan to pack the airspace more densely.”
The Latest on: Robots working together
via Google News
The Latest on: Robots working together
- Need a friend? Help's on the way, with eerily lifelike 'social robots' heading to market this yearon January 25, 2021 at 11:18 am
Besides the obvious carnage of the pandemic, there's little doubt that the pandemic has taken a toll on people's mental health as well. Humans are social creatures by nature, even the most ...
- Real Steel: 10 Most Powerful Robots In The DC Universeon January 25, 2021 at 7:36 am
Which ones are so terrifyingly strong that heroes come together from across time and space to stop them? Who are the most powerful robots of DC?
- LOOMIA’s Flexible E-Textile Circuits Bring Innovation To Robotics, Wearable Technology And Automotive Industrieson January 25, 2021 at 6:50 am
The ideas behind smart and e-textiles have been around for many decades, but with an increasingly commercial focus over the past 30, or even more, years.
- Robot boats and drones will test Outer Banks oyster beds for water pollutionon January 23, 2021 at 11:39 am
The remotely operated craft could save oyster farmers from losing many days when their farms are shut down after heavy storms.
- Why seeing robots in pop culture is importanton January 22, 2021 at 6:04 pm
Chances are, the first robot you ever encountered was one from popular culture. Ever since the Czech writer Karel Čapek coined the term “robot” in his 1920 science fiction play “Rossum's Universal ...
- Robots were dreamt up 100 years ago – why haven’t our fears about them changed since?on January 22, 2021 at 8:31 am
The 1921 play R.U.R. introduced the world to the word ‘robots’. Its plot is remarkably similar to robot stories told today.
- AI, Robots And Play: 2021 Predictions For A Virtual Workplaceon January 22, 2021 at 5:50 am
Founder and President of Virbela, building immersive virtual worlds for remote work, learning and events. While no one may have predicted just what 2020 would throw our way, my crystal ball is ...
- OMRON's Autonomous Mobile Robot with 1500kg Payload Capacityon January 21, 2021 at 9:01 am
The HD-1500 autonomous mobile robot from OMRON boasts a heavy payload capacity of up to 1500kg and is the strongest and newest addition to the company's series of mobile robots. OMRON 's mobile robots ...
- These 3-D Printed Robot Fish Sync and Swimon January 20, 2021 at 12:47 pm
Researchers at Harvard University have created a school of brightly-lit robotic fish that can swim together in three synchronized patterns, Meagan Cantwell reports for Science magazine. The seven ...
via Bing News