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Cooperating mobile sensors can be used to model environmental functions such as the temperature or salinity of a region of ocean. In this paper, we adopt an optimal filtering approach to fusing local sensor data into a global model of the environment. Our approach is based on the use of proportional-integral (PI) average consensus estimators, whereby information from each mobile sensor diffuses through the communication network. As a result, this approach is scalable and fully decentralized, and allows changing network topologies and anonymous agents to be added and subtracted at any time. We also derive control laws for mobile sensors to move to maximize their sensory information relative to current uncertainties in the model. The approach is demonstrated by simulations including modeling ocean temperature.
Date of Publication: June 2008