Practical Issues in Formation Control of Multi-Robot Systems
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Considered in this research is a framework for effective formation control of multirobot systems in dynamic environments. The basic formation control involves two important considerations: (1) Real-time trajectory generation algorithms for distributed control based on nominal agent models, and (2) robust tracking of reference trajectories under model uncertainties. Proposed is a two-layer hierarchical architecture for collectivemotion control ofmultirobot nonholonomic systems. It endows robotic systems with the ability to simultaneously deal with multiple tasks and achieve typical complex formation missions, such as collisionfree maneuvers in dynamic environments, tracking certain desired trajectories, forming suitable patterns or geometrical shapes, and/or varying the pattern when necessary. The study also addresses real-time formation tracking of reference trajectories under the presence of model uncertainties and proposes robust control laws such that over each time interval any tracking errors due to system uncertainties are driven down to zero prior to the commencement of the subsequent computation segment. By considering a class of nonlinear systems with favorable finite-time convergence characteristics, sufficient conditions for exponential finite-time stability are established and then applied to distributed formation tracking controls. This manifests in the settling time of the controlled system being finite and no longer than the predefined reference trajectory segment computing time interval, thus making tracking errors go to zero by the end of the time horizon over which a segment of the reference trajectory is generated. This way the next segment of the reference trajectory is properly initialized to go into the trajectory computation algorithm. Consequently this could lead to a guarantee of desired multi-robot motion evolution in spite of system uncertainties. To facilitate practical implementation, communication among multi-agent systems is considered to enable the construction of distributed formation control. Instead of requiring global communication among all robots, a distributed communication algorithm is employed to eliminate redundant data propagation, thus reducing energy consumption and improving network efficiency while maintaining connectivity to ensure the convergence of formation control.
Zhang, Junjie (2010). Practical Issues in Formation Control of Multi-Robot Systems. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from