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This paper presents a coordination algorithm for mobile autonomous robots. Relying on distributed sensing, the robots achieve rendezvous, i.e., they move to a common location. Each robot is a point mass moving in a simply connected, nonconvex, unknown environment according to an omnidirectional kinematic model. It is equipped with line-of-sight limited-range sensors, i.e., it can measure the relative position of any object (robots or environment boundary) if and only if the object is within a given distance and there are no obstacles in between. The perimeter minimizing algorithm is designed using the notions of robust visibility, connectivity-preserving constraint sets, and proximity graphs. The algorithm provably achieves rendezvous if the interagent sensing graph is connected at any time during the evolution of the group. Simulations illustrate the theoretical results and the performance of the proposed algorithm in asynchronous setups and with measurement errors, control errors, and nonzero robot size. Simulations to illustrate the importance of visibility constraints and comparisons with the optimal centralized algorithm are also included.
Date of Publication: April 2009