on May 28th, 2019

Task offloading plays a critical role in cloud networked multi-robot systems for leveraging computation support from cloud infrastructure and benefiting greatly from the well-developed cloud network facilities.

However, considering the delay constraint, the extra costs of data transmission and remote computation, it is not trivial to make optimized offloading decisions.

In particular, task offloading for robots is more complex due to their on-demand mobility and network connectivity that significantly influence the robot–cloud communication links.

Moreover, for multi-robot systems, a suitable balance of workload between local network (robot–robot) and global cloud (robot–cloud) is also required, so as to attain proper utilization of resources.

Therefore, it is essential to establish more comprehensive offloading schemes for modeling systems that can handle these higher level of complications.

With that view, this paper aims to develop a novel multi-layer decision-making scheme for task offloading which jointly considers the following four aspects: (i) selection of task for offloading, (ii) selection of robot to offload a task, (iii) selection of location to offload/perform task, (iv) selection of access point for offloaded task.

An integrated framework for cloud networked multi-robot systems is presented to enable our task offloading scheme where the primary robot can aid from additional local robots to improve the offloading process. In particular, we consider a warehouse scenario with 36 cell workspace where a 40 node taskflow is motivated from a “parcel sorting and distribution” application, to be completed by the primary robot.

The offloading decision for each task is formulated as part of a joint optimization problem and it is solved by developing a multi-layer genetic algorithm scheme that takes into account motion, network connectivity and local sharing for its offloading decisions.

We evaluate the results of the scheme via comparison with two validated benchmarks.

The outcome highlights a significant improvement in overall system performance due to joint involvement of motion (path planning), connectivity (bandwidth estimation) and robot–robot communication (local offloading) that facilitates energy-efficient offloading to cloud, faster completion of tasks and better utilization of available resources.

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