Multi-robot area patrol under frequency constraints

Yehuda Elmaliach, Noa Agmon, Gal A. Kaminka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Patrolling involves generating patrol paths for mobile robots such that every point on the paths is repeatedly covered. This paper focuses on patrolling in closed areas, where every point in the area is to be visited repeatedly by one or more robots. Previous work has often examined paths that allow for repeated coverage, but ignored the frequency in which points in the area are visited. In contrast, we first present formal frequency-based optimization criteria used for evaluation of patrol algorithms. Then, we present a patrol algorithm that guarantees maximal uniform frequency, i. e., each point in the target area is covered at the same optimal frequency. This solution is based on finding a circular path that visits all points in the area, while taking into account terrain directionality and velocity constraints. Robots are positioned uniformly along this path in minimal time, using a second algorithm. Moreover, the solution is guaranteed to be robust in the sense that uniform frequency of the patrol is achieved as long as at least one robot works properly. We then present a set of algorithms for handling events along the patrol path. The algorithms differ in the way they handle the event, as a function of the time constraints for handling them. However, all the algorithms handle events while maintaining the patrol path, and minimizing the disturbance to the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-320
Number of pages28
JournalAnnals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank the anonymous reviewers for useful comments. The research in this paper was funded in part by the Israel Science Foundation, Grant #1357/07. As always, thanks to K. Ushi.


  • Multi-Robotics
  • Multi-robot path planning
  • Team planning


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