Experimental Analysis of Shepherding-Type Robot Navigation Utilizing Sound-Obstacle-Interaction
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Osaka University
2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
This study considers a simple robot swarm navigation system based on shepherding in an environment with obstacles. Shepherding is a system in which a small number of control agents (shepherds and sheepdogs) indirectly guide several robots (sheep) by driving them from behind. Previous studies have predominantly focused on verifying proposed controllers based on numerical simulations and navigation experiments in well-prepared environments. However, additional shepherding experiments need to be conducted in environments with obstacles. This study aims to facilitate shepherding-type swarm robot navigation in an environment where a wall obstructs the goal. Usually, a high-end controller design is adopted for the robot to prevent it from getting trapped by obstacles. However, as the environment becomes more complex, the system design may become difficult. In contrast, this study proposes a simple shepherding navigation system based on creating and controlling “fields” to avoid obstacles. This research aims to verify whether the robot can be guided to a goal without obstacle recognition by creating an acoustic field based on the diffraction effects of sound. The proposed method modifies the previous shepherding models for sheep and shepherd robots to make them behave according to the acoustic field gradient. We demonstrate the validity of the proposed system by performing robot navigation for dog and sheep robots.
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