Coordinating a Swarm of Micro-Robots Under Lossy Communication

We envision swarms of mm-scale micro-robots to be able to carry out critical missions such as exploration and mapping for hazard detection and search and rescue. These missions share the need to reach full coverage of the explorable space and build a complete map of the environment. To minimize completion time, robots in the swarm must be able to exchange information about the environment with each other. However, communication between swarm members is often assumed to be perfect, an assumption that does not reflect real-world conditions, where impairments can affect the Packet Delivery Ratio (PDR) of the wireless links. We study how communication impairments can have a drastic impact on the performance of a robotic swarm and how to develop methods to compensate for the delay caused by lossy communication when designing and implementing algorithms for robotics swarm coordination.

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