Cooperative Formation Control of Nonholonomic Mobile Robots with Velocity Constraints

Project: Research

View graph of relations


The cooperative formation control problem of mobile robots has attracted increasingattention over the last decade. Its objective is to force a team of networked mobile robotsto form and maintain some desired positions and orientations so that a common goal isachieved. Mobile robots have been widely used in various applications. Classified byworking environments, mobile robots are often named as Unmanned Ground Vehicles(UGVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), or Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs).Thanks to the rapid advances and developments of mobile robots, the formation controlproblem becomes more and more important due to its great application potential. In fact,multiple mobile robots with a desired geometric structure are able to complete morecomplicated tasks with greater flexibility and higher efficiency. Typical engineeringapplication examples include, fixing a damaged oil drilling machine by cooperation ofmultiple UGVs, securing or monitoring a moving vessel by a group of AUVs, andscouting an unknown area in severe environment by a team of UAVs. Almost all theabove mentioned vehicles are subject to nonholonomic constraints. More importantly, inpractice, a mobile robot is driven by its motor with limited technical specifications. Dueto the pitch rate limit, thrust limit, and stall conditions, a mobile robot is subject toconstraints of the saturated heading rate, bounded maximum velocity, and positive-minimumvelocity respectively. All these velocity constraints need to be taken intoaccount in the formation control problem of mobile robots, otherwise the performance ofthe concerned system would be adversely affected. Unfortunately, most of the existingresults on formation control of nonholonomic mobile robots are developed without fullconsideration of those velocity constraints.The objective of this project is to investigate several fundamental problems incooperative formation control of multiple nonholonomic mobile robots subject to velocityconstraints. We aim at developing distributed control laws for a team of nonholonomicmobile robots by addressing several critical issues, including constrained controllerdesign, limited local information usage, time-varying communication networks,environmental disturbances and parameter uncertainties. Two typical formationproblems, that is, leader-follower formation and circular formation, will be comprehensively investigated. The success of this research project will provide answers to a number of fundamental and critical issues facing formation control of multiple mobile robots, and thus facilitate its applications in more practical scenarios.


Project number9042206
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/162/12/19

    Research areas

  • mobile robots,control systems,formation control,distributed control,