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Back-Tracking Based Sensor Deployment by a Robot Team

By Greg Fletcher, Xu Li, Amiya Nayak and Ivan Stojmenovic


Abstract—Existing solutions to carrier-based sensor placement by a single robot, in a bounded unknown region of interest (ROI), do not guarantee full area coverage and/or do not terminate. We propose a novel localized algorithm, named Back-Tracking Deployment (BTD). To construct a full coverage solution over the ROI, mobile robots (carriers) carry static sensors as payload and drop them at visited empty vertices of a virtual square, triangular or hexagonal grid. A Single robot will move forward along the virtual grid in open directions with respect to a predefined order of preference until a dead end is reached. Then it back-tracks to the nearest sensor adjacent to an empty vertex on its backward path (it is an ‘entrance ’ to an unexplored/uncovered area). The robot resumes regular forward moving and sensor dropping from there. To save movement steps, the back tracking is performed along a locally identified shortcut. We extend the algorithm to support multiple robots that move independently and asynchronously. Once a robot reaches a dead end, it will back track, giving preference to its own path. Otherwise it will take over the back-track path of another robot, by consulting with neighboring sensors. We prove that BTD terminates in finite time and produces full coverage when no sensor failures occur. We also describe an approach to handle sensor faults. Through simulation we show that BTD far outperforms the only competing algorithm LRV [2] in robot moves and robot messages at no additional cost in a failure-free environment and at minimal cost of sensor messages in a failure-prone environment. I

Year: 2010
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