The Cost of Reality: Effects of Real-World Factors on Multi-Robot Search
Designing algorithms for multi-robot systems can be a complex and difficult process: the cost of such systems can be very high, collecting experimental data can be time consuming, and individual robots may malfunction, invalidating experiments. These constraints make it very tempting to work using high-level abstractions of the robots and their environment. While these high-level models can be useful for initial design, it is important to verify techniques in more realistic scenarios that include real-world effects that may have been ignored in the abstractions. In this paper, we take a simple, coordinated, multi-robot search algorithm and illustrate problems that it encounters in environments which incorporate real-world factors, such as probabilistic target detection and positional noise. We compare the performance to that of several simple randomized approaches, which are better able to deal with these constraints.