Bayes Bots: Collective Bayesian Decision-Making in Decentralized Robot Swarms

Julia T. Ebert, Melvin Gauci, Frederik Mallmann-Trenn, Radhika Nagpal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a distributed Bayesian algorithm for robot swarms to classify a spatially distributed feature of an environment. This type of go/no-go decision appears in applications where a group of robots must collectively choose whether to take action, such as determining if a farm field should be treated for pests. Previous bio-inspired approaches to decentralized decision-making in robotics lack a statistical foundation, while decentralized Bayesian algorithms typically require a strongly connected network of robots. In contrast, our algorithm allows simple, sparsely distributed robots to quickly reach accurate decisions about a binary feature of their environment. We investigate the speed vs. accuracy tradeoff in decision-making by varying the algorithm's parameters. We show that making fewer, less-correlated observations can improve decision-making accuracy, and that a well-chosen combination of prior and decision threshold allows for fast decisions with a small accuracy cost. Both speed and accuracy also improved with the addition of bio-inspired positive feedback. This algorithm is also adaptable to the difficulty of the environment. Compared to a fixed-time benchmark algorithm with accuracy guarantees, our Bayesian approach resulted in equally accurate decisions, while adapting its decision time to the difficulty of the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages7186-7192
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728173955
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2020 - Paris, France
Duration: May 31 2020Aug 31 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2020
Country/TerritoryFrance
CityParis
Period5/31/208/31/20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Bayes Bots: Collective Bayesian Decision-Making in Decentralized Robot Swarms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this