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Eyes in the Sky: Decentralized Control for the Deployment of Robotic Camera Networks

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4 Author(s)
Schwager, M. ; Comput. Sci. & Artificial Intell. Lab. (CSAIL), Massachusetts Inst. of Technol. (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA ; Julian, Brian J. ; Angermann, M. ; Rus, D.

This paper presents a decentralized control strategy for positioning and orienting multiple robotic cameras to collectively monitor an environment. The cameras may have various degrees of mobility from six degrees of freedom, to one degree of freedom. The control strategy is proven to locally minimize a novel metric representing information loss over the environment. It can accommodate groups of cameras with heterogeneous degrees of mobility (e.g., some that only translate and some that only rotate), and is adaptive to robotic cameras being added or deleted from the group, and to changing environmental conditions. The robotic cameras share information for their controllers over a wireless network using a specially designed multihop networking algorithm. The control strategy is demonstrated in repeated experiments with three flying quadrotor robots indoors, and with five flying quadrotor robots outdoors. Simulation results for more complex scenarios are also presented.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:99 ,  Issue: 9 )