Reactive exploration with self-reconfigurable systems

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Title: Reactive exploration with self-reconfigurable systems
Author: Fabricant, Eric
Abstract: Modular self-reconfigurable robots (MSR) are robots composed of modules that translate over one another to permit reconfiguration and locomotion. This construction allows them to traverse a broader range of environments than legged or wheeled robots. MSR also posses the ability to split apart to parallelize their efforts or combine with each other to produce a larger robot capable of navigating more diverse terrain. In this paper we discuss a state-based reactive architecture for the distributed control of cooperative MSR teams in unknown environments. The MSR use local sensory data from the environment and a model of the team to select their actions. These actions include selecting a destination, aborting a route to a destination, splitting into two separate robots, and combining with another robot. In simulation, team-configuration, environmental complexity, and behavioral parameters are varied to discern the most effective circumstances for the architecture and MSR. Our results show that the best configuration of the system is highly dependent on the environment.
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Date: 2009

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