Hierarchical Agent-based Command and Control (C2) Systems


c2    Cooperative missions using a team of autonomous vehicles poses a challenge to the designers of the underlying C2 system. Not only does the C2 system have to handle its own mission tasks and onboard sensor data, but has to deal with potentially complex interactions among the peer vehicles in the team. One common approach to ease the problem is to adopt the divide-and-conquer model where high level mission tasks are decoupled from the low level vehicle navigational tasks. The division provides a clear view on the overall control architecture and makes the C2 system development and maintenance more manageable. Typically the vehicle navigational control remains unchanged regardless of the complexity of the overall mission objectives. However, the requirements of the high level mission tasks evolve with the nature of the cooperative missions specified for a team of vehicles. The underlying C2 system must be extensible to handle the new requirements as they are introduced.

    In [1, 2, 3], we adopted a multi-agent approach in the C2 system where mission, navigation and vehicle control tasks are allocated to individual software agents that are arranged in a hierarchical order according to their corresponding control responsibilities. To allow for different mission behaviors and cater to various payload modules with potentially different mission requirements, we adopted a Backseat Driver (BD) paradigm where mission decisions are made based on the input provided by a pool of BD agents. This pool is termed as Agent Services (AS). Each BD agent in the AS implements different algorithms and monitors various sensor data to generate inputs in the form of mission points, which when accepted by the Captain agent for execution, achieve a specific mission task. The interaction between the Captain agent and the AS ensures mission objectives are achieved. The resultant C2 system has been successfully used in numerous single and multiple vehicle missions: cooperative localization [4, 5, 6, 7, 8], adaptive sampling, source localization with robotic swam [9] and adapted to allow interoperability with MOOS for a field experiment involving STARFISH AUV and MIT USV [10].

References:

[1] Y. T. Tan and M. Chitre, “Hierarchical multi-agent command and control system for autonomous underwater vehicles,” in Ieee auv 2012, Southampton, UK, 2012.
[Bibtex]
@conference{Tan:2012southampton,
Address = {Southampton, UK},
Author = {Y. T. Tan, and Mandar Chitre},
Booktitle = {IEEE AUV 2012},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2016-06-14 18:50:19 +0000},
Keywords = {ARL:STARFISH},
Month = {September},
Title = {Hierarchical multi-agent command and control system for autonomous underwater vehicles},
Year = {2012}}
[2] [doi] Y. T. Tan, M. Chitre, and P. Vadakkepat, “Hierarchical agent-based command and control system for autonomous underwater vehicles.” 2010, pp. 1-6.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{5547041,
Abstract = {Over the past decades, the design and development of mission based Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) continues to challenge researchers. Although AUV technology has matured and commercial systems have appeared in the market, a generic yet robust AUV command and control (C2) system still remains a key research area. This paper presents a command and control system architecture for modular AUVs. We particularly focus on the design and development of a generic control and software architecture for a single modular AUV while allowing natural extensions to multi-vehicle scenarios. This proposed C2 system has a hybrid modular-hierarchical control architecture. It adopts top-down approach in mission level decision making and task planning while utilizing bottom-up approach for navigational control, obstacle avoidance and vehicle fault detection. Each level consists of one or more autonomous agent components handling different C2 tasks. This structure provides the vehicle developers with an explicit view of the clearly defined control responsibilities at different level of control hierarchy. The resultant C2 system is currently operational on the STARFISH AUV built at the ARL of the National University of Singapore. It has successfully executed some autonomous missions during sea trials carried out around the Singapore coastal area.},
Author = {Y. T. Tan, and Chitre, Mandar and Vadakkepat, P.},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Doi = {10.1109/AIS.2010.5547041},
Journal = {Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (AIS), 2010 International Conference on},
Keywords = {ARL;STARFISH AUV;agent based command and control system;autonomous underwater vehicles;control system architecture;mission level decision making;multivehicle scenarios;navigational control;obstacle avoidance;software architecture;task planning;vehicle fault detection;collision avoidance;command and control systems;control engineering computing;decision making;fault diagnosis;remotely operated vehicles;software agents;software architecture;underwater vehicles;},
Month = {jun.},
Pages = {1 -6},
Publisher = {Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (AIS), 2010 International Conference on},
Title = {Hierarchical agent-based command and control system for autonomous underwater vehicles},
Year = {2010},
Bdsk-Url-1 = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/AIS.2010.5547041}}
[3] Y. T. Tan, M. Chitre, P. Vadakkepat, and S. Shahabudeen, “Design and Development of Command and Control System for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles,” in DTA 2009, 2009.
[Bibtex]
@conference{Tan2009a,
Abstract = {Command and control for AUVs has been an area of active research over the part years. Inspired by the command structure in the real ships and submarines, we have developed a command and control system which operates through the interaction of multiple software agents. The software agents take on roles such as Captain, Executive Officer, Navigator, Pilot, etc. to achieve specified missions. The command and control system has been tested in simulation and in filed tests on the STARFISH AUV developed at the National University of Singapore. In this paper, we will present the command and control architecture and some filed test results.},
Author = {Y. T. Tan, and Chitre, Mandar and Vadakkepat, Prahlad and Shahabudeen, Shiraz},
Booktitle = {{DTA 2009}},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2016-06-14 18:49:31 +0000},
Keywords = {ARL:STARFISH},
Month = {March},
Title = {{Design and Development of Command and Control System for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles}},
Year = {2009}}
[4] T. B. Koay, Y. T. Tan, Y. H. Eng, R. Gao, M. Chitre, J. L. Chew, N. Chandhavarkar, R. R. Khan, T. Taher, and J. Koh, “Starfish — a small team of autonomous robotic fish,” Indian journal of geo-marine sciences, vol. 20, iss. 2, pp. 157-167, 2011.
[Bibtex]
@article{starfishJournal,
Abstract = {STARFISH AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) are a group of open architecture vehicles with high degree of modularity and well defined mechanical, electrical, and software interfaces. This enables the baseline AUV configuration to be simple and low in cost, while allowing its capabilities to be extended with various specialized modules depending on the need. Various AUVs can easily be configured in different ways to form a team of heterogeneous AUVs tailored to a specific mission. STARFISH AUVs employ a flexible Command and Control (C2) architecture that is capable of adapting to various configurations of AUVs. The vehicle command is loosely based on the C2 hierarchy in submarines, with software agents such as Captain, Executive Officer, Navigator, etc interacting to each other to control the AUV's behaviors. Numerous field trials have been conducted in open waters. Results from some of these trials are presented in this paper to illustrate the capability of deploying a heterogeneous team of cooperative AUVs. Specifically, the mission illustrated shows how a single AUV with high positioning accuracy can be used to reduce the positioning error of one or more AUVs with poorer navigational sensors.},
Author = {Koay, T.B. and Tan, Y.T. and Eng, Y.H. and Gao, R. and Chitre, Mandar and Chew, J.L. and Chandhavarkar, N. and Khan, R.R. and Taher, T. and Koh, J.},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Journal = {Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences},
Keywords = {AUV, Teams, Cooperative, vehicle},
Month = {April},
Number = {2},
Pages = {157-167},
Title = {STARFISH -- A small team of autonomous robotic fish},
Volume = {20},
Year = {2011},
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[5] Y. T. Tan and M. Chitre, “Single beacon cooperative path planning using cross-entropy method,” in IEEE/MTS OCEANS, kona, hawaii, 2011.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{tanoceans2011,
Author = {Y. T. Tan and Mandar Chitre},
Booktitle = {{IEEE/MTS OCEANS}, KONA, Hawaii},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2016-06-14 18:37:03 +0000},
Month = {September},
Title = {Single beacon cooperative path planning using cross-entropy method},
Year = {2011},
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[6] Y. T. Tan and M. Chitre, “Direct policy search with variable-length genetic algorithm for single beacon cooperative path planning,” in International symposium on distributed autonomous robotic systems (DARS) 2012, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 2012.
[Bibtex]
@conference{Tan:2012Baltimore,
Address = {Baltimore, Maryland, USA},
Author = {Y. T. Tan, and Mandar Chitre},
Booktitle = {International Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems ({DARS}) 2012},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Month = {November},
Title = {Direct policy search with variable-length genetic algorithm for single beacon cooperative path planning},
Year = {2012}}
[7] [doi] Y. T. Tan, M. Chitre, and F. Hover, “Cooperative bathymetry-based localization using low-cost autonomous underwater vehicles,” Autonomous robots, pp. 1-19, 2015.
[Bibtex]
@article{BathyAuRo_2014,
Author = {Y. T. Tan and Chitre, Mandar and Hover, FranzS.},
Date-Added = {2015-10-26 15:20:33 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2015-11-18 15:11:25 +0000},
Doi = {10.1007/s10514-015-9508-2},
Issn = {0929-5593},
Journal = {Autonomous Robots},
Keywords = {Cooperative localization; Autonomous underwater vehicle; Rao-Blackwellized particle filter; Acoustic ranging},
Language = {English},
Pages = {1-19},
Publisher = {Springer US},
Title = {Cooperative bathymetry-based localization using low-cost autonomous underwater vehicles},
Url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10514-015-9508-2},
Year = {2015},
Bdsk-Url-1 = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10514-015-9508-2}}
[8] Y. T. Tan, R. Gao, and M. Chitre, “Cooperative path planning for range-only localization using a single moving beacon,” Journal of oceanic engineering, 2014.
[Bibtex]
@article{Tan:JOE2012,
Author = {Y. T. Tan, and R. Gao, and Mandar Chitre},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Journal = {Journal of Oceanic Engineering},
Title = {Cooperative path planning for range-only localization using a single moving beacon},
Year = {2014}}
[9] Mansoor Shaukat, Mandar Chitre, Y. T. Tan, and A. Raste, “Bio-CAST: A bio-inspired control algorithm for small team of robots using implicit communication for cooperative source localization,” Journal of oceanic engineering (under review).
[Bibtex]
@article{BIOCAST,
Author = {Mansoor Shaukat, and Mandar Chitre, and Y. T. Tan, and Ashish Raste},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2016-06-14 18:24:54 +0000},
Journal = {Journal of Oceanic Engineering (under review)},
Title = {{Bio-CAST: A} Bio-inspired control algorithm for small team of robots using implicit communication for cooperative source localization}}
[10] J. L. Chew, T. B. Koay, Y. T. Tan, Y. H. Eng, R. Gao, M. Chitre, and N. Chandhavarkar, “STARFISH: An Open-Architecture AUV and its Applications,” in Defence Technology Asia, 2011, 2011.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{STARFISH,
Author = {J. L. Chew, and T. B. Koay, and Y. T. Tan, and Y. H. Eng, and R. Gao, and Chitre, Mandar and N. Chandhavarkar},
Booktitle = {{Defence Technology Asia, 2011}},
Date-Added = {2015-05-10 20:35:15 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2016-06-14 18:38:00 +0000},
Month = {February},
Publisher = {Defence Technology Asia, 2011},
Title = {{STARFISH: An Open-Architecture AUV and its Applications}},
Year = {2011}}