Resilient Active Information Acquisition with Mobile Robots

In the future, teams of heterogeneous robot teams will be operating in unknown and adversarial environments.   In failure prone or adversarial environments, the capability of resilience is crucial to ensuring the robots can complete their mission. Mission resilience to robot failures, sensor attacks or communication disruptions is currently an afterthought leading to optimal over-provisioned designs.   DCIST researchers are leading the research community by designing resilient algorithms for distributed planning and control that from the outset embrace the possibility of failures or attacks.   Resilience is defined as the robot team’s ability to recover from failures or attacks to members of the team, while completing the task.

A recent paper by members of the DCIST alliance develops efficient algorithms for information acquisition problems for teams of mobile robots who need to exhibit resiliency in situational awareness.  The work develops a computationally efficient algorithm with linear complexity in the number of robots that achieves a provable approximation performance for information gathering tasks such as active mapping and tracking moving targets in attack prone environments. A key mathematical property used in the algorithm analysis, and common to many information measures is a property called submodularity, which is a diminishing returns property on information gain. Experiments indicate that the algorithm leads to superior target tracking performance under a variety of different robot team sizes, number of targets, and attacks.  

A resilient active target tracking problem with a 3 robot team. The compromised robot is highlighted in red, the remaining robots in blue, and the target uncertainty is highlighted in cyan

Schlotfeldt, B., Tzoumas, V., Thakur, D., & Pappas, G. J. (2018, October). Resilient active information gathering with mobile robots. In 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) (pp. 4309-4316). IEEE.
Task: RA3.C1
Points of Contact: George J Pappas