Cybernetic automata: An approach for the realization of economical cognition for multi-robot systems
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The multi-agent robotics paradigm has attracted much attention due to the variety of pertinent applications that are well-served by the use of a multiplicity of agents (including space robotics, search and rescue, and mobile sensor networks). The use of this paradigm for most applications, however, demands economical, lightweight agent designs for reasons of longer operational life, lower economic cost, faster and easily-verified designs, etc. An important contributing factor to an agent’s cost is its control architecture. Due to the emergence of novel implementation technologies carrying the promise of economical implementation, we consider the development of a technology-independent specification for computational machinery. To that end, the use of cybernetics toolsets (control and dynamical systems theory) is appropriate, enabling a principled specifi- cation of robotic control architectures in mathematical terms that could be mapped directly to diverse implementation substrates. This dissertation, hence, addresses the problem of developing a technologyindependent specification for lightweight control architectures to enable robotic agents to serve in a multi-agent scheme. We present the principled design of static and dynamical regulators that elicit useful behaviors, and integrate these within an overall architecture for both single and multi-agent control. Since the use of control theory can be limited in unstructured environments, a major focus of the work is on the engineering of emergent behavior. The proposed scheme is highly decentralized, requiring only local sensing and no inter-agent communication. Beyond several simulation-based studies, we provide experimental results for a two-agent system, based on a custom implementation employing field-programmable gate arrays.
Mathai, Nebu John (2008). Cybernetic automata: An approach for the realization of economical cognition for multi-robot systems. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from