2016 ICRA Workshop on Fielded Multi-robot Systems Operating on Land, Sea, and Air

Friday, 20 May, 2016
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Center (Sweden)
Hosting conference: 
Simon Lacroix, LAAS-CNRS
Lorenzo Marconi, University of Bologna
Antonio Franchi, LAAS-CNRS
Lorenzo Sabattini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
This workshop aims at providing an overview of current research related to real world deployment of heterogeneous multi­robot systems. Many operational situations can indeed benefit from the deployment of a team of robots, in which the robots may have different motion, sensing and decision abilities, or complementary operational payloads. The objective of the workshop is to present the most recent results, obtained by the main research groups active in the field, and to highlight what are the main challenges to be faced to achieve effective deployment of heterogeneous multi­robot systems. Generally speaking, cooperative systems, where capabilities are expressed by the team rather than by a super­capable individual, are commonly recognized to be an interesting and efficient solution. One of the main advantages of having a cooperative system instead of a super­capable individual is in the increased reliability due to redundancy. On the other side, it becomes especially relevant in complex tasks that require capabilities that are varied in both quantity and difficulty, Along these lines, many operational situations can benefit from the deployment of a team of heterogeneous robots, in which the robots have different motion, sensing and decision abilities, or complementary operational payloads. Examples abound: in patrolling missions, aerial robots can rapidly gather overhead information, whereas ground robots can closely observe underneaths and buildings; in maritime applications, surface vessels can relay the communications of underwater vehicles; in assembly tasks, heavy robots can lift heavy loads while smaller, more agile ones can ensure precise positioning; vehicles of various sizes and functions have to cooperate for mining operations... While heterogeneous teams of robots are beneficial to a variety of application contexts, they also open perspectives for the achievement of completely novel robotics functions, that arise from the complementary features of the single individual robots: for instance, aerial robots can support ground robots for navigation and localisation, ground robots can refuel aerial robots, heavy ground robots can carry smaller ground or aerial robots. At the same time, the heterogeneous nature of the members of the teams introduce new and specific challenges, that should be taken into account while designing the system. The objective of the workshop is first to provide an overview of the main current research activities on teams of heterogeneous robots, focusing in particular in fielded developments. Second, it will be the opportunity to debate a series of questions related to such systems: ­What are the robotics application contexts that do require or can benefit from the development of heterogeneous fleets? ­How can essential functions such as robot localization, environment mapping, motion control, execution supervision... benefit from heterogeneous fleets? ­What benefits can one expect from heterogeneous fleets regarding the robustness of their operations, their level of autonomy?
Deadline for submission: 
Friday, 15 April, 2016