Multi-Robot Auctions for Allocation of Tasks with Temporal Constraints
Keywords:Multi-robot task allocation, Overlapping time windows, Auctions
We propose an auction algorithm to allocate tasks that have temporal constraints to cooperative robots. Temporal constraints are expressed as time windows, within which a task must be executed. There are no restrictions on the time windows, which are allowed to overlap. Robots model their temporal constraints using a simple temporal network, enabling them to maintain consistent schedules. When bidding on a task, a robot takes into account its own current commitments and an optimization objective, which is to minimize the time of completion of the last task alone or in combination with minimizing the distance traveled. The algorithm works both when all the tasks are known upfront and when tasks arrive dynamically. We show the performance of the algorithm in simulation with different numbers of tasks and robots, and compare it with a baseline greedy algorithm and a state-of-the-art auction algorithm. Our algorithm is computationally frugal and consistently allocates more tasks than the competing algorithms.