Combining the unique capabilities of robots, agents and people (RAPs) promises to improve the safety, efficiency, reliability and cost at which some goals can be achieved, while allowing the achievement of other goals not previously achievable. Despite their heterogeneity, and indeed, because of their
heterogeneity, our key hypothesis is that in order for RAPs to
work together effectively, they must work as a team: they
should be aware of the overall goals of the team, and coordinate their activities with their fellow team members in order to further the team’s goals. This poses a challenge, since
different RAP entities may have differing social abilities and
hence differing abilities to coordinate with their teammates.
To construct such RAP teams, we make the RAPs “team
ready” by providing each of them with teamwork-enabled
proxies. While proxy-based architectures have been explored
earlier for flexible multiagent teamwork, their application to
RAP teams exposes two weaknesses. To address the problems with existing role allocation algorithms for RAP teams
operating in dynamic environments, we provide a new approach for highly flexible role allocation and reallocation.
Second, we enrich the communication between RAPs and
between a RAP and its proxy, to improve teamwork flexibility while limiting the number of messages exchanged. This
paper discusses the proxy based architecture and our initial
attempts at developing algorithms that address the problems
that emerge when the RAP teams are used in complex domains.