Cooperation Protocols in Multi-Agent Robotic Systems

Fang Chang Lin*, Jane Yung Jen Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

11 Scopus citations


Multi-agent robotic systems are useful in many practical applications. For some tasks, such as holding a conference, cooperation among agents are necessary. For other tasks, such as cleaning a room, multiple agents can work in parallel for better performance. This paper provides help-based (HCP) and coordination-based (CCP) protocols for controlling agents to accomplish multi-agent tasks. The HCP utilizes efficient negotiation to coordinate agents into groups. The CCP improves overall performance by exchanging local knowledge among agents and making decisions in parallel. A reactive and modularized agent architecture was employed to implement the protocols. Since each protocol is embedded into the architecture, it is efficient and effective. In addition, the protocols are deadlock-free. The protocols were utilized to solve the Object-Sorting Task, which abstracts two characteristics of tasks: parallelism and cooperation. The experimental results showed that 1) both HCP and CCP are stable under different workload; 2) the protocols can effectively utilize the agent-power to achieve super-linear improvement; 3) The CCP is better than the HCP in both performance and speedup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-198
Number of pages24
JournalAutonomous Robots
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Deadlock handling
  • Distributed autonomous robotic systems
  • Multi-agent cooperation
  • Multi-agent tasks
  • Multirobot systems


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