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Navigating by Stigmergy: A Realization on an RFID Floor for Minimalistic Robots

R. Johansson and A. Saffiotti

Abstract
Stigmergy is a mechanism that allows the coordination of actions within the same agent or across different agents by means of traces left in the environment. We propose a stigmergetic approach to robot navigation in which a robot sets values in a hexagonal grid of RFID tags buried under the floor. This approach only requires minimal resources on the robot. The RFID floor will eventually contain a distance map that can guide the robot to a given goal (or set of goals) without the use of any localization system. The same map can be used or improved by other robots or by the same robot at later times. We define algorithms for building the RFID-floor map and for navigating on this map, we prove the convergence of the map building algorithm, and we show an empirical validation of our results using a small robot in a domestic environment.
Note
This paper is based on Robert Johannson's MSc thesis, winner of the SAIS 2009 award for the best MSc thesis in A.I.
Citation
R. Johansson and A. Saffiotti. Navigating by Stigmergy: A Realization on an RFID Floor for Minimalistic Robots. Proc. of the IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Kobe, Japan, 2009.
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Email Robert Johansson
Email Alessandro Saffiotti
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