Auction Mechanism Design for Multi-Robot Coordination

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 16 (NIPS 2003)

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Curt Bererton, Geoffrey J. Gordon, Sebastian Thrun


The design of cooperative multi-robot systems is a highly active research area in robotics. Two lines of research in particular have generated inter- est: the solution of large, weakly coupled MDPs, and the design and im- plementation of market architectures. We propose a new algorithm which joins together these two lines of research. For a class of coupled MDPs, our algorithm automatically designs a market architecture which causes a decentralized multi-robot system to converge to a consistent policy. We can show that this policy is the same as the one which would be produced by a particular centralized planning algorithm. We demonstrate the new algorithm on three simulation examples: multi-robot towing, multi-robot path planning with a limited fuel resource, and coordinating behaviors in a game of paint ball.