It is often challenging to manage the battery supply when dealing with a fleet of mobile robots during long experiments. If one uses classical recharge stations, then agents are immobilized during the whole recharge process. In this study, we present a novel approach that employs a battery pack swapping station. Batteries are charged in a rotating barrel, and the robots dock only for the time of the hot-swap process. We attained an unavailability time of only 40 seconds, with a success rate of 100 % on a total of 46 trials. Experiments above 8 hours are performed in three arenas with different configurations, which proves the relevance of our approach.
Posted on: April 10, 2012