Large and sophisticated networks of sensors are being developed and deployed in a variety of environments, from military surveillance, to environmental monitoring, and smart spaces. Adding mobility to sensors, by placing them on robots, can make the sensors more useful but at the cost of adding new challenges.
We focus on the problem of automated deployment of the sensors, in particular on how to disperse a group of robots in an unknown environment so as to cover the environment as much as possible while staying within communications range. We assume there is no central control, the robots operate independently, and the only communications among them are to ensure they are within communication range. Whenever a robot loses communication, it moves to attempt to regain communication.
We evaluate different algorithms based on the percentage of the environment that the group of robots succeeds in observing, the percentage of time the robots are within communications range, and how long it takes for them to reacquire communication.