Learning to Cooperate via an Attention-Based Communication Neural Network in Decentralized Multi-Robot Exploration.
In a decentralized multi-robot exploration problem, the robots have to cooperate effectively to map a strange environment as soon as possible without a centralized controller. In the past few decades, a set of "human-designed" cooperation strategies have been proposed to address this problem, such as the well-known frontier-based approach. However, many real-world settings, especially the ones that are constantly changing, are too complex for humans to design efficient and decentralized strategies. This paper presents a novel approach, the Attention-based Communication neural network (CommAttn), to "learn" the cooperation strategies automatically in the decentralized multi-robot exploration problem. The communication neural network enables the robots to learn the cooperation strategies with explicit communication. Moreover, the attention mechanism we introduced additionally can precisely calculate whether the communication is necessary for each pair of agents by considering the relevance of each received message, which enables the robots to communicate only with the necessary partners. The empirical results on a simulated multi-robot disaster exploration scenario demonstrate that our proposal outperforms the traditional "human-designed" methods, as well as other competing "learning-based" methods in the exploration task.
multi-robot exploration,deep reinforcement learning,attention mechanism,dynamic environments
Mathematical optimization,Control theory,Exploration problem,Artificial intelligence,Robot,Artificial neural network,Mathematics