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Research Areas:

  1. Cooperative control of multiple autonomous vehicles
  2. Distributed consensus
  3. Networked cyber-physical Systems
  4. Autonomous control of unmanned vehicles.

Distributed Consensus Algorithms

The basic idea for information consensus is that each vehicle updates its information based on the information of its local neighbors so that the final information of each vehicle converges to a common value. This basic idea can be extended to a variety of scenarios that incorporate group behavior and dynamics. Consensus algorithms have applications in rendezvous, formation control, flocking, attitude alignment, decentralized task assignment, and sensor networks. Experimental results of the consensus algorithms on a mobile actuator and sensor network platform can be found at Experimental Video 1 (Four robots rendezvous with a dynamic interaction topology that is directed switching but has a directed spanning tree jointly.), Experimental Video 2 (Four robots rendezvous with a static interaction topology that has a directed spanning tree.), and Experimental Video 3 (Four robots align their positions along a horizontal line with an even separation distance with a static interaction topology that has a directed spanning tree.).

Networked Cyber-physical Systems

Examples of networked cyber-physical systems range from cooperative medical devices and systems to future defense systems. Timeliness, dependability, safety, security, efficiency, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and adaptability are critical factors for networked cyber-physical systems. These critical factors favor distributed solutions over centralized solutions. Innovative concepts for analysis and design of networked cyber-physical systems may result from observation of interesting properties exhibited by many phenomena or systems in nature. An experimental demonstration of two UAVs flying in formation with a virtual leader using a distributed discrete-time coordinated tracking algorithm can be found at Experimental Video.

Formation Control of Multiple Vehicle Systems

Accurate maintenance of a geometric configuration between multiple vehicles moving in formation has been studied extensively in the literature with the hope that through efficient coordination many inexpensive, simple vehicles, can achieve better performance than a single monolithic vehicle. An experimental demonstration of four AmigoBots following a circle while maintaining a square formation can be found at Experimental Video 1 (static interaction topology with a directed spanning tree)  and Experimental Video 2 (switching interaction topology with a directed spanning tree at each time instant). An experimental demonstration of four AmigoBots using coupled linear harmonic oscillators can be found at Experimental Video.

Distributed Spacecraft Formation Flying

In some applications, it is desirable that multiple rigid bodies maintain relative or the same attitudes during formation maneuvers. One example is deep space interferometry, where a formation of networked spacecraft are required to perform a sequence of maneuvers while maintaining relative attitudes accurately. Our research focuses on developing distributed control laws requiring only local neighbor-to-neighboring information exchange for spacecraft attitude synchronization as well as analyzing how inter-spacecraft information exchange plays a key role in attitude synchronization from a consensus-building point of view. Simulation results can be found at Simulation Videos while an experimental demonstration on the ground robots can be found at Experimental Video.

Autonomous control of unmanned vehicles

Unmanned vehicles have numerous potential applications in civilian, homeland security, and military sectors. Examples include environment monitoring, search and rescue, communication relays, border patrol, situational awareness, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and battle damage assessment. Our research focuses on guidance, navigation, and control of unmanned air/ground vehicles. Examples can be found at Simulation and Experimental Videos. A couple of videos from the 2008 Sumo robot competition at USU can be found at Sumo Competition 1 and Sumo Competition 2.

 

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