Decentralized Hash Tables For Mobile Robot Teams Solving Intra-Logistics Tasks
Conference paper (Refereed)
9th Int. Joint Conf. on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2010)
International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and
Although a remarkably high degree of automation has been reached in production and intra-logistics nowadays, human labor is still used for transportation using handcarts and forklifts. High labor cost and risk of injury are the undesirable consequences. Alternative approaches in automated warehouses are fixed installed conveyors installed either overhead or floor-based. The drawback of such solutions is the lack of flexibility, which is necessary when the production lines of the company change. Then, such an installation has to be re-built. In this paper, we propose a novel approach of decentralized teams of autonomous robots performing intra-logistics tasks using distributed algorithms. Centralized solutions suffer from limited scalability and have a single point of failure. The task is to transport material between stations keeping the communication network structure intact and most importantly, to facilitate a fair distribution of robots among loading stations. Our approach is motivated by strategies from peer-to-peer-networks and mobile ad-hoc networks. In particular we use an adapted version of distributed heterogeneous hash tables (DHHT) for distributing the tasks and localized communication. Experimental results presented in this paper show that our method reaches a fair distribution of robots over loading stations.