Robotics: Science and Systems XVIII

Traversing Supervisor Problem: An Approximately Optimal Approach to Multi-Robot Assistance

Tianchen Ji, Roy Dong, Katherine Driggs-Campbell


The number of multi-robot systems deployed in field applications has increased dramatically over the years. Despite the recent advancement of navigation algorithms, autonomous robots often encounter challenging situations where the control policy fails and the human assistance is required to resume robot tasks. Human-robot collaboration can help achieve high-levels of autonomy, but monitoring and managing multiple robots at once by a single human supervisor remains a challenging problem. Our goal is to help a supervisor decide which robots to assist in which order such that the team performance can be maximized. We formulate the one-to-many supervision problem in uncertain environments as a dynamic graph traversal problem. An approximation algorithm based on the profitable tour problem on a static graph is developed to solve the original problem, and the approximation error is bounded and analyzed. Our case study on a simulated autonomous farm demonstrates superior team performance than baseline methods in task completion time and human working time, and that our method can be deployed in real-time for robot fleets with moderate size.



    AUTHOR    = {Tianchen Ji AND Roy Dong AND Katherine Driggs-Campbell}, 
    TITLE     = {{Traversing Supervisor Problem: An Approximately Optimal Approach to Multi-Robot Assistance}}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2022}, 
    ADDRESS   = {New York City, NY, USA}, 
    MONTH     = {June}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2022.XVIII.059}