Path planning is a critical combinatorial problem essential for the navigation of a mobile robot. Several re search initiatives, aiming at providing optimized solutions to this problem, have emerged. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and Genetic Algorithms (GA) are the two most widely used heuristics that have shown their effectiveness in solving such a problem. This paper presents, smartPATH, a new hybrid ACO GA algorithm to solve the global robot path planning problem. The algorithm consists of a combination of an improved ACO algorithm (IACO) for efficient and fast path selection, and a modified crossover operator for avoiding falling into a local minimum. Our system model incorporates a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) infrastructure to support the robot navigation, where sensor nodes are used as signposts that help locating the mobile robot, and guide it towards the target location. We found out smartPATH outperforms classical ACO (CACO) and GA algorithms (as defined in the literature without modification) for solving the path planning problem both and Bellman-Ford shortest path method. We demonstrate also that smartPATH reduces the execution time up to 64.9% in comparison with Bellman-Ford exact method and improves the solution quality up to 48.3% in comparison with CACO.
Path planning is a fundamental optimization problem that is crucial for the navigation of a mobile robot. Among the vast array of optimization approaches, we focus in this paper on Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and Genetic Algorithms (GA) for solving the global path planning problem in a static environment, considering their effectiveness in solving such a problem. Our objective is to design an efficient hybrid algorithm that takes profit of the advantages of both ACO and GA approaches for the sake of maximizing the chance to find the optimal path even under real-time constraints. In this paper, we present smartPATH, a new hybrid ACO-GA algorithm that relies on the combination of an improved ACO algorithm (IACO) for efficient and fast path selection, and a modified crossover operator to reduce the risk of falling into a local minimum. We demonstrate through extensive simulations that smartPATH outperforms classical ACO (CACO), GA algorithms. It also outperforms the Dijkstra exact method in solving the path planning problem for large graph environments. It improves the solution quality up to 57% in comparison with CACO and reduces the execution time up to 83% as compared to Dijkstra for large and dense graphs. In addition, the experimental results on a real robot shows that smartPATH finds the optimal path with a probability up to 80% with a small gap not exceeding 1m in 98%.
Cooperative robots and their integration with Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) is an expanding area that still deserves significant research efforts. This paper presents a multi-robot surveillance application supported by a WSN. We investigate the problem of multi-robot coordination for target tracking and capturing. One key distinction of our problem model is to consider a WSN that supports the mission of the multi-robot team. We devised three mechanisms: centralized, distributed and market-based algorithms, which were extensively evaluated under the Player/Stage simulator. Simulation results show that the centralized approach is the most likely solution able to maintain an efficient system cost.
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