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In this paper we focus on modelling formations of non-holonomic mobile robots using non-linear attractor dynamics (see video). The benefit is that the behavior of each robot is generated by time series of asymptotically stable states, which therefore contribute to the robustness against environmental perturbations. This study extends our previous work [S Monteiro et al., 2002]. Here we develop a set of decentralized and distributed basic control architectures that allows each robot to maintain a desired pose within a formation and to enable changes in the shape of the formation which are necessary to avoid obstacles. Simulation results, for teams of four and six mobile robots driving in cluttered and unknown environments, while simultaneously trying to drive in line, column, square, diamond and hexagon are presented. We explain how this approach naturally extends to larger teams of robots.
Date of Conference: 27-31 Oct. 2003