A system of autonomous vehicles for forming a team of autonomous vehicles to perform a designated set of tasks. Each vehicle stores data representing its own capabilities that match the tasks, data representing needed capabilities for the team to perform the tasks, and data representing the capabilities of all current team members. Each of the vehicles is equipped with a communications system operable to send and receive join request messages and join response messages. All join request message contain the capabilities of the sending vehicle. All join response messages contain current team capabilities data. Upon receipt of a join request message, a vehicle compares needed capabilities data to the received capabilities data, and if there are matched capabilities, it updates the team capabilities data and transmits a join response message. Upon receipt of a join response message, if the message indicates the sending vehicle has joined the team, the receiving vehicle updates the team capabilities list.
Stephen J. Lemmer; Cameron R. Mott; Paul A. Avery