Behavior-based control is one of the three dominant paradigms for robot control. The other two are reactive control and hybrid control.
Behavior-based controllers consist of a collection of behaviors. Behaviors are processes or control laws that achieve and/or maintain goals. For example, 'avoid-obstacles' maintains the goal of preventing collisions, 'go-home' achieves the goal of reaching some home destination. Behaviors can be implemented either in software or hardware; as a processing element or a procedure. Each behavior can take inputs from the robot's sensors (e.g., camera, ultrasound, infra-red, tactile) and/or from other behaviors in the system, and send outputs to the robot's effectors (e.g, wheels, grippers, arm, speech) and/or to other behaviors. Thus, a behavior-based controller is a structured network of such interacting behaviors. Note that behaviors themselves can have state, and can form representations when networked together. Thus, unlike reactive systems, behavior-based systems are not limited in their expressive and learning capabilities.
The key difference between behavior-based and hybrid systems is in the way representation and time-scale are handled. Hybrid systems typically employ a low-level reactive system that functions on a short time-scale, and a high-level planner that functions on a long time-scale. The two interact through a middle layer. Consequently hybrid systems are often implemented with so-called three-layer architectures.
In contrast, behavior-based systems attempt to make the representation, and thus the time-scale, of the system uniform. Behavior-based representations are parallel, distributed, and active, in order to accommodate the real-time demands of other parts of the system. Furthermore, they are implemented using the behavior structure, much like the rest of the system.
There are a great many examples of behavior-based mobile robots. Currently, behavior-based control appears to be the de-facto standard for multi-robot control, due to its scalable properties. For a textbook on behavior-based control, see: Behavior-Based Robotics by R. Arkin
The following are my papers specifically on the topic of behavior-based control:
Our contribution to the field of behavior-based systems has been in the following areas:
For details about these efforts, please see my projects page and my publications page.
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