|dc.description.abstract||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.||en