Multi-robot systems (MRS) are a group of robots that are designed aiming to perform some collective behavior. By this collective behavior, some goals that are impossible for a single robot to achieve become feasible and attainable. There are various foreseen benefits of MRS compared to single robot systems. These benefits include, but are not limited to the following [Khamis 2014]:

  • Resolving task complexity: some tasks may be quite complex for a single robot to do or even it might be impossible. This complexity may be also due to the distributed nature of the tasks and/or the diversity of the tasks in terms of different requirements. Examples of these tasks include reconnaissance, surveillance, search and rescue.
  • Increasing the performance: performance measures are application-dependent. However, and as an example, task completion time can be dramatically decreased if many robots cooperate to do the tasks in parallel. Spatial and/or temporal area/object coverage can be improved using multiple robots. Moreover, in some applications, these robots can cooperate to establish ad hoc communication relay network to improve radio coverage.
  • Increasing reliability: increasing the system reliability through redundancy because having only one robot may work as a bottleneck for the whole system especially in critical times. But when having multiple robots doing a task and one fails, others could still do the job.
  • Simplicity in design: having small, simple robots will be easier and cheaper to implement than having only single powerful complex robot.

MRS

MRS can play a crucial role in humanitarian demining. According to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for humanitarian demining, human deminers use metal detectors to identify targets, which are then flagged for subsequent digging by a supervisor. The objective of this category is to mimic the conventional mag-and-flag approach or SOP using multiple unmanned teleoperated and autonomous vehicles. The arena of the competition is shown in the following figure. Teleoperated vehicles play the role of human deminers while an autonomous vehicle is used to mimic the supervisor/team leader’s role. The team leader has to be equipped with a gripper or a marking mechanism to mark the location of the landmine detected by the deminers. More than one deminer can be integrated into the team but only one supervisor or team leader is allowed.

If two deminers are used, these unmanned vehicles “A” and “B” are assigned to each lane as shown in the figure. Vehicle “B” starts to work after vehicle “A”. If a deminer detected a surface-laid or a buried mine in its assigned lane, it has to produce a warning siren for at least 2 seconds and inform the team leader about the position of the detected mine. All the deminers have to stop and wait while the autonomous vehicle (the team leader) comes forward marks the detected mine with a red mark or flag and the scanning procedure continues until all the arena is scanned.

General rules for scoring are as following. But the exact scores will be decided during the competition.

·         10 Positive score for detecting every buried metallic mine by the deminers,

·         5 Positive score for detecting every surface metallic mine by the deminers,

·         30 Positive score for complete surf of field if 80% of mines are detected correctly by the robot team,

·         5 Negative score for wrong detection by the deminers,

·         10 Negative score for passing over a buried mine without detecting it by the deminers.

·         5 Negative score for touching a surface mine by the deminers.

·         3 Negative score failure in producing a light signal and/or a siren by the deminers for a detected mine.

·         5 Negative score per deminer for failure of pausing the movement of the deminer after detecting the landmine and failure in waiting the supervisor.

·         10 Negative score for failure of correct marking by the supervisor. 

·         2 Negative score for every minute reset time.


Important Note: No mapping is required in this category. However, the robot team has to be able to work cooperatively in detecting metallic surface-laid and buried objects and marking their location in the arena.