Auction-based dynamic task allocation for foraging with a cooperative robot team

Changyun Wei*, Koen V. Hindriks, Catholijn M. Jonker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Many application domains require search and retrieval, which is also known in the robotic domain as foraging. An example domain is search and rescue where a disaster area needs to be explored and transportation of survivors to a safe area needs to be arranged. Performing these tasks by more than one robot increases performance if tasks are allocated and executed efficiently. In this paper, we study the Multi-Robot Task Allocation (MRTA) problem in the foraging domain. We assume that a team of robots is cooperatively searching for targets of interest in an environment which need to be retrieved and brought back to a home base. We look at a more general foraging problem than is typically studied where coordination also requires to take temporal constraints into account. As usual, robots have no prior knowledge about the location of targets, but in addition need to deliver targets to the home base in a specific order. This significantly increases the complexity of a foraging problem. We use a graph-based model to analyse the problem and the dynamics of allocating exploration and retrieval tasks. Our main contribution is an extension of auction-based approaches to deal with dynamic foraging task allocation where not all tasks are initially known. We use the Blocks World for Teams (BW4T) simulator to evaluate the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMulti-Agent Systems - 12th European Conference, EUMAS 2014, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsNils Bulling
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319171296
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event12th European Conference on Multi-Agent Systems, EUMAS 2014 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 18 Dec 201419 Dec 2014

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference12th European Conference on Multi-Agent Systems, EUMAS 2014
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • Auctions
  • Foraging
  • Multi-Robot task allocation


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