An Exploration of Online Parallel Learning in Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Swarms
Designing effective behavioral controllers for mobile robots can be difficult and tedious; this process can be circumvented by using unsupervised learning techniques which allow robots to evolve their own controllers online in an automated fashion. In multi-robot systems, robots learning in parallel can share information to dramatically increase the evolutionary rate. However, manufacturing variations in robotic sensors may result in perceptual differences between robots, which could impact the learning process. In this paper, we explore how varying sensor offsets and scaling factors affects parallel swarm-robotic learning of obstacle avoidance behavior using both Genetic Algorithms and Particle Swarm Optimization. We also observe the diversity of robotic controllers throughout the learning process using two different metrics in an attempt to better understand the evolutionary process.