Article

Article title APPLICATION OF MULTI-AGENT TECHNOLOGY FOR MANAGING A GROUP OF UNMANNED UNDERWATER VEHICLES
Authors A.I. Mashoshin, P.O. Skobelev
Section SECTION II. MARINE ROBOTICS
Month, Year 01, 2016 @en
Index UDC 629.58
DOI
Abstract The paper considers the principles of developing a distributed multi-agent system for managing a group (“swarm”) of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) for distributed solution of the task of patrolling a given area. The paper proposes a new methodological framework for development of distributed smart systems for collective management of the new generation mobile robotic objects. This framework provides the ability to solve important tasks of coordinated actions within a group (swarm) of robots and ensures such important benefits as flexibility and efficiency, productivity and scalability, reliability and viability of the system. Self-sufficiency of UUVs is ensured by an individual intelligent control system (ICS) for each vehicle. This system is capable of reacting to events, planning its performance in order to achieve the objectives and communicating with other devices. For this purpose, multi-agent technology acts as the basis for the ICS, providing the possibility to create plans which are open to change, as well as rebuild them quickly, flexibly and efficiently according to the events and to enforce a given mission in spite of any disturbing events. Software agents of the mission, tasks, routes, surveillance squares, vehicles and other resources within the developed system are designed to solve their local problems: surveillance of a certain square of the waters, choosing a safe route (without collisions), maintaining an adequate supply of battery power, maintenance of communication sessions with the database and identifying specific goals (tasks for each UUV). Each UUV agent performs coordination of its actions during flexibly scheduled time slots, which are mobile and can be reallocated among the resources and shifted, depending on the situation, in order to resolve conflicts. If it is impossible to perform the task, it is transferred to other agents, with possible loss of quality or efficiency. The proposed method of adaptive planning is based on introduction of satisfaction functions for each agent in the system. Such functions describe deviations of parameter attributes from the desired ideal values. Each agent receives a description of the domain from the local ontology, which is part of the region ontology. The current state of the scene is formed by correcting ontological scenes of individual agents. At the same time, consistency of the given state of agent system is supported on the instrumental level. The general trend of agent behavior is defined in the ontology and is directed at achieving locally optimal parameters. Temporary deterioration of the states of individual agents is possible in the current scene, however, dynamic evolution of the whole system aims to automatically adapt to the desired direction. The loss of one or more vehicles does not lead to disruption of the mission, and only increases the running time, possibly with lower quality and a smaller probability. The general principle of constructing the distributed control system for UUV groups requires a network-centric approach to building a multi-agent "system of systems". These subsystems interact with each other on the basis of р2р principles via a common bus. In this case, it is possible to create a self-organizing system, in which the directorial command decision-making center does not give orders to the processes but uses direct interaction among the systems, at the same time catalyzing it. Meanwhile, the command center maintains all the capabilities for task assignment, coordination and evaluation of results. Such an approach gives the possibility to simulate the appearance of a new type of phenomenon – "command (team) intelligence" in groups ("swarm intelligence"). The main principle of this kind of network-centric systems can be formulated as follows: the task must be solved as locally as possible, but at the same time as globally, as is required in the given situation. The paper proposes distributed architecture of network-centric systems for management of a UUV swarm and considers the basic architecture modules and their interaction. The main benefits generated by the system are analyzed and the ways of their implementation and application are outlined.

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Keywords Unmanned underwater vehicle; multi-agent technology; real-time planning; network-centric system.
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