Voronoi-based space partitioning for coordinated multi-robot exploration

Ling Wu, Miguel Ángel García García, Domenec Puig Valls, Albert Solé Ribalta


Recent multi-robot exploration algorithms usually rely on occupancy grids as their core world representation. However, those grids are not appropriate for environments that are very large or whose boundaries are not well delimited from the beginning of the exploration. In contrast, polygonal representations do not have such limitations. Previously, the authors have proposed a new exploration algorithm based on partitioning unknown space into as many regions as available robots by applying K-Means clustering to an occupancy grid representation, and have shown that this approach leads to higher robot dispersion than other approaches, which is potentially beneficial for quick coverage of wide areas. In this paper, the original K-Means clustering applied over grid cells, which is the most expensive stage of the aforementioned exploration algorithm, is substituted for a Voronoi-based partitioning algorithm applied to polygons. The computational cost of the exploration algorithm is thus significantly reduced for large maps. An empirical evaluation and comparison of both partitioning approaches is presented.


Multi-robot; Exploration; Polygonal model; K-means

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/JoPha.2007.1.1.05