Date of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Mechanical Engineering & Applied Mechanics

First Advisor

Vijay Kumar

Abstract

Given a non-cooperative agent, we seek to formulate a control strategy to enable a team of robots to localize and track the agent in a complex but known environment while maintaining a continuously optimized line-of-sight communication chain to a fixed base station. We focus on two aspects of the problem. First, we investigate the estimation of the agent's location by using nonlinear sensing modalities, in particular that of range-only sensing, and formulate a control strategy based on improving this estimation using one or more robots working to independently gather information. Second, we develop methods to plan and sequence robot deployments that will establish and maintain line-of-sight chains for communication between the independent agent and the fixed base station using a minimum number of robots. These methods will lead to feedback control laws that can realize this plan and ensure proper navigation and collision avoidance.

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