Specification Decomposition and Formal Behavior Generation in Multi-Robot Systems

Abstract: While autonomous robot systems are becoming increasingly common, their usage is still mostly limited to rather simple tasks. This primarily results from the need for manually programming the execution plans of the robots. Instead, as shown in this thesis, their behavior can be automatically generated from a given goal specification. This forms the basis for providing formal guarantees regarding optimality and satisfaction of the mission goal specification and creates the opportunity to deploy these robots in increasingly sophisticated scenarios. Well-defined robot capabilities of comparably low complexity can be developed independently from a specific high-level goal and then, using a behavior planner, be automatically composed to achieve complex goals in a verifiably correct way. Considering multiple robots introduces significant additional planning complexity. Not only actions need to be planned, but also allocation of parts of the mission to the individual robots needs to be considered. Classically, either are planning and allocation seen as two independent problems which requires to solve an exponential number of planning problems, or the formulation of a joint team model leads to a product state space between the robots. The resulting exponential complexity prevents most existing approaches from being practically useful in more complex and realistic scenarios. In this thesis, an approach is presented to utilize the interplay of allocation and planning, which avoids the exponential complexity for independently executable parts of the mission specification. Furthermore, an approach is presented to identify these independent parts automatically when only being given a single goal specification for the team. This bears the potential of improving the efficiency to find an optimal solution and is a significant step towards the application of formal multi-robot behavior planning to real-world problems. The effectiveness of the proposed methods is therefore illustrated in experiments based on an existing office environment and in realistic scenarios.