Formation control of unmanned ground vehicles

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Dr. Harmati István
Department of Control Engineering and Information Technology

In this paper I study the fundamental topics of controlling of land multi-agent robotic systems. My work is based on a Chinese study from 2009 and another one written in the USA in 2008. Each article gives a control algorithm for non-holonomic mobile robots.

The former study achieves the multi-agent system’s formation control in a unique manner by using only relative location information. By this special, hybrid algorithm the classic problem of formation-control called cooperative target enclosing succeeded.

This problem means that the originally randomly located robots enclose a decent point in the plane and executes a circular movement. Moreover, by the control method all robots get equally separated from each other.

The latter study by its more common control philosophy is able to control much wider variants of problems and tasks. By using absolute coordinate information, it can solve problems of individual and formation movements practically on any types of trajectories. The algorithm with a potential-based collision-avoidance compliment executes one or more land-vehicles cooperative or individual movement, obstacle-avoidance and velocity-tracking.

My thesis not only includes, but precisely examines the theoretical results, the control laws and the proofs of the basic studies.

It goes over the process of the implementation, the final solutions and the emerged problems and doubts, while it shows the similarities and the differences between the three situations (individual and formation moving, velocity-tracking), the simulated systems in Simulink and the important conclusions of my work.

I also mention the opportunities of the in a real, field environment. During these examinations I used the mobile robotics board of Department of Control Engineering and Information Technology. With its already developed and frequently used architecture and software environment it gave me lots of help in researching and testing the high-level control technique, which was the main point of my whole work.

Finally, I summarize the achievements and experiences and some options for future’s improvements.


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