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Exploration and Gas Source Localization in Advection–Diffusion Processes with Potential-Field-Controlled Robotic Swarms

Hinsen, Patrick and Wiedemann, Thomas and Shutin, Dmitriy and Lilienthal, Achim J. (2023) Exploration and Gas Source Localization in Advection–Diffusion Processes with Potential-Field-Controlled Robotic Swarms. Sensors. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). doi: 10.3390/s23229232. ISSN 1424-8220.

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Mobile multi-robot systems are well suited for gas leak localization in challenging environments. They offer inherent advantages such as redundancy, scalability, and resilience to hazardous environments, all while enabling autonomous operation, which is key to efficient swarm exploration. To efficiently localize gas sources using concentration measurements, robots need to seek out informative sampling locations. For this, domain knowledge needs to be incorporated into their exploration strategy. We achieve this by means of partial differential equations incorporated into a probabilistic gas dispersion model that is used to generate a spatial uncertainty map of process parameters. Previously, we presented a potential-field-control approach for navigation based on this map. We build upon this work by considering a more realistic gas dispersion model, now taking into account the mechanism of advection, and dynamics of the gas concentration field. The proposed extension is evaluated through extensive simulations. We find that introducing fluctuations in the wind direction makes source localization a fundamentally harder problem to solve. Nevertheless, the proposed approach can recover the gas source distribution and compete with a systematic sampling strategy. The estimator we present in this work is able to robustly recover source candidates within only a few seconds. Larger swarms are able to reduce total uncertainty faster. Our findings emphasize the applicability and robustness of robotic swarm exploration in dynamic and challenging environments for tasks such as gas source localization.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/199332/
Document Type:Article
Title:Exploration and Gas Source Localization in Advection–Diffusion Processes with Potential-Field-Controlled Robotic Swarms
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Hinsen, PatrickUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4561-9769UNSPECIFIED
Lilienthal, Achim J.Chair of Perception for Intelligent Systems, School of Computation, Information and Technology (CIT), Technical University of Munich (TUM), 80992 Munich, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0217-9326UNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Sensors
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Keywords:swarm robotics; robotic exploration; uncertainty mapping; artificial potential field control; gas exploration; gas source localization; advection–diffusion equation
HGF - Research field:other
HGF - Program:other
HGF - Program Themes:other
DLR - Research area:Digitalisation
DLR - Program:D IAS - Innovative Autonomous Systems
DLR - Research theme (Project):D - STARE
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Communication and Navigation > Communications Systems
Deposited By: Hinsen, Patrick
Deposited On:29 Nov 2023 18:01
Last Modified:07 Mar 2024 11:39

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