The task of coordinating hundreds of mobile robots in one of Kiva System's warehouses presents many challenging multi-agent resource allocation problems. The resources include things like inventory, open orders, small shelving units, and the robots themselves. The types of resources can be classified by whether they are consumable, recycled, or scheduled. Further, the global optimization problem can be broken down into more manageable sub-problems, some of which map to (hard) versions of well known computational problems, but with a dynamic, temporal twist.
Founder Mick Mountz narrates
John J. Enright and P. R. Wurman, Optimization and Coordinated Autonomy in Mobile Fulfillment Systems, Workshops at the Twenty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, San Francisco, CA, August 2011. [PDF]