Journal article

Robotic clusters: Multi-robot systems as computer clusters A topological map merging demonstration

In most multi-robot systems, an individual robot is not capable of solving computationally hard problems due to lack of high processing power. This paper introduces the novel concept of robotic clusters to empower these systems in their problem solving. A robotic cluster is a group of individual robots which are able to share their processing resources, therefore, the robots can solve difficult problems by using the processing units of other robots. The concept, requirements, characteristics and architecture of robotic clusters are explained and then the problem of “topological map merging” is considered as a case study to describe the details of the presented idea and to evaluate its functionality. Additionally, a new parallel algorithm for solving this problem is developed. The experimental results proved that the robotic clusters remarkably speedup computations in multi-robot systems. The proposed mechanism can be used in many other robotic applications and has the potential to increase the performance of multi-robot systems especially for solving problems that need high processing resources.

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