Newly Developed Algorithm Could Prevent Autonomous Cars from Bumping Into Each Other

Image for illustration. (Photo: Manav Sinha/

According to the researchers, the benefit of a swarm of small robots — versus one giant robotic, or a collective of bots with one lead — is the dearth of centralised management.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: February 27, 2020, 4:03 PM IST
  • Edited by: Anirudh SK

Researchers have developed a novel algorithm that will permit collision-free transportation in autonomous automobiles, an advance which they declare will help self-driving vehicles navigate one another with out crashing, or inflicting site visitors jams. The research, revealed within the journal IEEE Transactions on Robotics, examined the algorithm in a simulation of 1,024 robots, and on a swarm of 100 actual robots, and reported that the bots reliably, safely, and effectively converged to kind a pre-determined form in lower than a minute.

“If you have many autonomous vehicles on the road, you don’t want them to collide with one another or get stuck in a deadlock,” mentioned Michael Rubenstein, research lead creator from Northwestern University within the US. “By understanding how to control our swarm robots to form shapes, we can understand how to control fleets of autonomous vehicles as they interact with each other,” Rubenstein mentioned.

According to the researchers, the benefit of a swarm of small robots — versus one giant robotic, or a collective of bots with one lead — is the dearth of centralised management. The new algorithm, the scientists mentioned, permits for decentralised swarms, and acts as a fail-safe, the research famous. “If the system is centralized and a robot stops working, then the entire system fails. In a decentralized system, there is no leader telling all the other robots what to do. Each robot makes its own decisions,” Rubenstein defined.

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“If one robot fails in a swarm, the swarm can still accomplish the task,” he added. The researchers mentioned the robots have to coordinate in an effort to keep away from collisions, and for attaining this, the algorithm views the bottom beneath the robots as a grid. Using know-how that’s much like the Global Positioning System (GPS) which permits location monitoring in cellphones, every robotic is conscious of the place it sits on the grid, the research famous.

In this arrange, the scientists mentioned, particular person robots use sensors to speak with their neighbours earlier than making a call about the place to maneuver. The robots then decide whether or not or not close by areas inside the grid are vacant or occupied, they defined. “The robots refuse to move to a spot until that spot is free, and until they know that no other robots are moving to that same spot. They are careful and reserve a space ahead of time,” Rubenstein mentioned.

The robots then talk and transfer swiftly to kind a form, the research famous. According to Rubenstein, that is achieved by retaining the robots near-sighted. “Each robot can only sense three or four of its closest neighbours. They can’t see across the whole swarm, which makes it easier to scale the system,” the Northwestern University scientist defined.

“The robots interact locally to make decisions without global information,” he added. In the swarm engineered by the researchers, 100 robots can coordinate to kind a form inside a minute, the research famous. In earlier approaches, this might take a full hour, they mentioned. “Large companies have warehouses with hundreds of robots doing tasks similar to what our robots do in the lab,” Rubenstein mentioned. “They need to make sure their robots don’t collide but do move as quickly as possible to reach the spot where they eventually give an object to a human,” he added.

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This post was last modified on February 28, 2020 6:30 am

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