Flood Disaster Mitigation: A Real-world Challenge Problem for Multi-Agent Unmanned Surface Vehicles (2011)
Paul Scerri, Balajee Kannan, Pras Velagapudi, Kate Macarthur, Peter Stone, Matthew E. Taylor, John Dolan, Alessandro Farinelli, Archie Chapman, Bernadine Dias, and George Kantor
As we advance the state of technology for robotic systems, there is a need for defining complex real-world challenge problems for the multi-agent/robot community to address. A well-dfined challenge problem can motivate researchers to aggressively address and overcome core domain challenges that might otherwise take years to solve. As the focus of multi-agent research shifts from the mature domains of UGV and UAVs to USVs, there is a need for outlining well-dened and realistic challenge problems. In this position paper, we define one such problem, food disaster mitigation. The ability to respond quickly and efectively to disasters is essential to saving lives and limiting the scope of damage. The nature of floods dictates the need for a fleet of low-cost and small autonomous boats that can provide situational awareness (SA), damage assessment and deliver supplies before more traditional emergency response assets can access an aected area. In addition to addressing an essential need, the outlined application provides an interesting challenge problem for advancing fundamental research in multi-agent systems (MAS) specic to the USV domain. In this paper, we dene a technical statement of this MAS challenge problem based and outline MAS specic technical constraints based on the associated real-world constraints. Core MAS sub-problems that must be solved for this application include coordination, control, human interaction, autonomy, task allocation, and communication. This problem provides a concrete and real-world MAS application that will bring together researchers with a diverse range of expertise to develop and implement the necessary algorithms and mechanisms.
In Proceedings of the Autonomous Robots and Multirobot Systems workshop (at AAMAS-11), May 2011.

Peter Stone Faculty pstone [at] cs utexas edu
Matthew Taylor Ph.D. Alumni taylorm [at] eecs wsu edu