Fog Computing for Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Systems With Adaptive Task Allocation


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Virginia Tech


The evolution of cloud computing has finally started to affect robotics. Indeed, there have been several real-time cloud applications making their way into robotics as of late. Inherent benefits of cloud robotics include providing virtually infinite computational power and enabling collaboration of a multitude of connected devices. However, its drawbacks include higher latency and overall higher energy consumption.

Moreover, local devices in proximity incur higher latency when communicating among themselves via the cloud. At the same time, the cloud is a single point of failure in the network. Fog Computing is an extension of the cloud computing paradigm providing data, compute, storage and application services to end-users on a so-called edge layer. Distinguishing characteristics are its support for mobility and dense geographical distribution. We propose to study the implications of applying fog computing concepts in robotics by developing a middle-ware solution for Robotic Fog Computing Cluster solution for enabling adaptive distributed computation in heterogeneous multi-robot systems interacting with the Internet of Things (IoT). The developed middle-ware has a modular plug-in architecture based on micro-services and facilitates communication of IOT devices with the multi-robot systems.

In addition, the developed middle-ware solutions support different load balancing or task allocation algorithms. In particular, we establish that we can enhance the performance of distributed system by decreasing overall system latency by using already established multi-criteria decision-making algorithms like TOPSIS and TODIM with naive Q-learning and with Neural Network based Q-learning.



cloud robotics, fog computing, task allocation, multi-robot systems