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HGHA: task allocation and path planning for warehouse agents

HGHA: task allocation and path planning for warehouse agents With the rapid development of e-commerce, logistics demand is increasing day by day. The modern warehousing with a multi-agent system as the core comes into being. This paper aims to study the task allocation and path-planning (TAPP) problem as required by the multi-agent warehouse system.Design/methodology/approachThe TAPP problem targets to minimize the makespan by allocating tasks to the agents and planning collision-free paths for the agents. This paper presents the Hierarchical Genetic Highways Algorithm (HGHA), a hierarchical algorithm combining optimization and multi-agent path-finding (MAPF). The top-level is the genetic algorithm (GA), allocating tasks to agents in an optimized way. The lower level is the so-called highways local repair (HLR) process, avoiding the collisions by local repairment if and only if conflicts arise.FindingsExperiments demonstrate that HGHA performs faster and more efficient for the warehouse scenario than max multi-flow. This paper also applies HGHA to TAPP instances with a hundred agents and a thousand storage locations in a customized warehouse simulation platform with MultiBots.Originality/valueThis paper formulates the multi-agent warehousing distribution problem, TAPP. The HGHA based on hierarchical architecture solves the TAPP accurately and quickly. Verifying the HGHA by the large-scale multi-agent simulation platform MultiBots. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Assembly Automation Emerald Publishing

HGHA: task allocation and path planning for warehouse agents

Assembly Automation , Volume 41 (2): 9 – Jul 27, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0144-5154
DOI
10.1108/aa-10-2020-0152
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

With the rapid development of e-commerce, logistics demand is increasing day by day. The modern warehousing with a multi-agent system as the core comes into being. This paper aims to study the task allocation and path-planning (TAPP) problem as required by the multi-agent warehouse system.Design/methodology/approachThe TAPP problem targets to minimize the makespan by allocating tasks to the agents and planning collision-free paths for the agents. This paper presents the Hierarchical Genetic Highways Algorithm (HGHA), a hierarchical algorithm combining optimization and multi-agent path-finding (MAPF). The top-level is the genetic algorithm (GA), allocating tasks to agents in an optimized way. The lower level is the so-called highways local repair (HLR) process, avoiding the collisions by local repairment if and only if conflicts arise.FindingsExperiments demonstrate that HGHA performs faster and more efficient for the warehouse scenario than max multi-flow. This paper also applies HGHA to TAPP instances with a hundred agents and a thousand storage locations in a customized warehouse simulation platform with MultiBots.Originality/valueThis paper formulates the multi-agent warehousing distribution problem, TAPP. The HGHA based on hierarchical architecture solves the TAPP accurately and quickly. Verifying the HGHA by the large-scale multi-agent simulation platform MultiBots.

Journal

Assembly AutomationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 27, 2021

Keywords: Path planning; Multi-agent; Task allocation; Hierarchical Genetic Highways Algorithm

References