Autonomous Teamed Exploration of Subterranean Environments using Legged and Aerial Robots [article]

Mihir Kulkarni, Mihir Dharmadhikari, Marco Tranzatto, Samuel Zimmermann, Victor Reijgwart, Paolo De Petris, Huan Nguyen, Nikhil Khedekar, Christos Papachristos, Lionel Ott, Roland Siegwart, Marco Hutter (+1 others)
2022 arXiv   pre-print
This paper presents a novel strategy for autonomous teamed exploration of subterranean environments using legged and aerial robots. Tailored to the fact that subterranean settings, such as cave networks and underground mines, often involve complex, large-scale and multi-branched topologies, while wireless communication within them can be particularly challenging, this work is structured around the synergy of an onboard exploration path planner that allows for resilient long-term autonomy, and a
more » ... multi-robot coordination framework. The onboard path planner is unified across legged and flying robots and enables navigation in environments with steep slopes, and diverse geometries. When a communication link is available, each robot of the team shares submaps to a centralized location where a multi-robot coordination framework identifies global frontiers of the exploration space to inform each system about where it should re-position to best continue its mission. The strategy is verified through a field deployment inside an underground mine in Switzerland using a legged and a flying robot collectively exploring for 45 min, as well as a longer simulation study with three systems.
arXiv:2111.06482v2 fatcat:z6p3xjljsjgsvdle7moftytj5e