Keywords: intelligent infrastructures, multi-agent systems, agent-based systems, intelligent control, cooperative control, distributed intelligence, automated guided vehicles, AGVs, next generation infrastructures, critical infrastructures, multi-vehicle systems, ports, vehicle control, deep sea terminals
Distributed intelligence in autonomous multi-vehicle systems
To make better use of existing infrastructures, new control methods are under development. In the Intelligent Infrastructures programme, an infrastructure is seen as a multi-agent system, with more or less autonomous subsystems that are related to each other in hierarchical, coordinated, cooperative, or non-cooperative way. Current controls for multi-vehicle systems are based on the hierarchical control concept. In this paper, it is shown how the incident handling, efficiency, and flexibility of multi-vehicle systems can be improved by applying a cooperative control strategy. An existing multi AGV application in a seaport illustrates that efficiency of operations can be improved considerably with smarter control. Finally, a research project is introduced concerning cooperative multi-agent control of true free-ranging automated guided vehicles.