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A Passivity-Based Decentralized Strategy for Generalized Connectivity Maintenance

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84174

Robuffo Giordano,  P
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83915

Franchi,  A
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83839

Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Robuffo Giordano, P., Franchi, A., Secchi, C., & Bülthoff, H. (2013). A Passivity-Based Decentralized Strategy for Generalized Connectivity Maintenance. International Journal of Robotics Research, 32(3), 299-323. doi:10.1177/0278364912469671.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B4A8-E
Abstract
The design of decentralized controllers coping with the typical constraints on the inter-robot sensing/communication capabilities represents a promising direction in multi-robot research thanks to the inherent scalability and fault tolerance of these approaches. In these cases, connectivity of the underlying interaction graph plays a fundamental role: it represents a necessary condition for allowing a group or robots to achieve a common task by resorting to only local information. The goal of this paper is to present a novel decentralized strategy able to enforce connectivity maintenance for a group of robots in a flexible way, that is, by granting large freedom to the group internal configuration so as to allow establishment/deletion of interaction links at anytime as long as global connectivity is preserved. A peculiar feature of our approach is that we are able to embed into a unique connectivity preserving action a large number of constraints and requirements for the group: (i) the presence of specific inter-robot sensing/communication models; (ii) group requirements such as formation control; and (iii) individual requirements such as collision avoidance. This is achieved by defining a suitable global potential function of the second smallest eigenvalue λ2 of the graph Laplacian, and by computing, in a decentralized way, a gradient-like controller built on top of this potential. Simulation results obtained with a group of quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles, and experimental results obtained with four quadrotor UAVs, are finally presented to thoroughly illustrate the features of our approach on a concrete case study.