Centibots: The 100 Robots Project
The Centibots system is a framework for very large teams of robots
that are able to perceive, explore, plan and collaborate in unknown
environments. The Centibots were developed in collaboration with SRI International
, funded under
DARPA's SDR program. The Centibots team currently consist of
approximately 100 robots. These robots can be deployed in unexplored
areas, and can efficiently distribute tasks among themselves; the
system also makes use of a mixed initiative mode of interaction in
which a user can influence missions as necessary.
Our research group focused on the problem of distributed mapping and
exploration. In the mapping phase, multiple robots explore the
environment in order to build a map that can be used in the subsequent
search and surveillance phases. We developed a decentralized system
that goes beyond the state of the art in multi-robot mapping in that
it does not depend on reliable communication between robots and makes
no assumptions about the robots' relative start locations. Below are
some results obtained during the final demo (see also the SRI
Dieter Fox, Jonathan Ko, Benson Limketkai, Benjamin Stewart, Kurt
Konolige (SRI International)
Click on the image
to see three of our robots as they build a map of the Allen Center
(shown is the perspective of the blue robot).
The animation might
not look correct for about 7 seconds.
Results from the Final Project Evaluation in Fort APHill, 01/2004
- More information on our research on mapping and exploration can be
found on the RSE-lab projects
- The evaluation of the Centibots system is described in the
Proc. of the IEEE 2006
Distributed Multi-Robot Exploration and Mapping.
- Our coordination strategy is discussed in an IROS-03
paper. We also developed a hierarchical Bayesian technique for the
map merging problem, see our ISRR-03 and
One of the
maps built during the evaluation overlayed with manually generated
ground truth map (click on image for large version).
Three maps built during different runs, under different
circumstances. The fact that the maps are virtually identical
confirms our belief that these maps are more accurate than the
manually generated ground truth map.
|Amigobots on the loose
||Command center during final demo
|UW development team
|Robots taking a break
||Our fearless leader