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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 380480, 10 pages
Research Article

A Balanced Heuristic Mechanism for Multirobot Task Allocation of Intelligent Warehouses

Department of Control and System Engineering, School of Management and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China

Received 19 August 2014; Revised 21 October 2014; Accepted 21 October 2014; Published 11 November 2014

Academic Editor: Hari M. Srivastava

Copyright © 2014 Luowei Zhou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a new mechanism for the multirobot task allocation problem in intelligent warehouses, where a team of mobile robots are expected to efficiently transport a number of given objects. We model the system with unknown task cost and the objective is twofold, that is, equally allocating the workload as well as minimizing the travel cost. A balanced heuristic mechanism (BHM) is proposed to achieve this goal. We raised two improved task allocation methods by applying this mechanism to the auction and clustering strategies, respectively. The results of simulated experiments demonstrate the success of the proposed approach regarding increasing the utilization of the robots as well as the efficiency of the whole warehouse system (by 5~15%). In addition, the influence of the coefficient in the BHM is well-studied. Typically, this coefficient is set between 0.7~0.9 to achieve good system performance.