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We describe a framework for controlling a group of nonholonomic mobile robots equipped with range sensors. The vehicles are required to follow a prescribed trajectory while maintaining a desired formation. By using the leader-following approach, we formulate the formation control problem as a hybrid (mode switching) control system. We then develop a decision module that allows the robots to automatically switch between continuous-state control laws to achieve a desired formation shape. The stability properties of the closed-loop hybrid system are studied using Lyapunov theory. We do not use explicit communication between robots; instead we integrate optimal estimation techniques with nonlinear controllers. Simulation and experimental results verify the validity of our approach.
Date Posted: 19 November 2004
This document has been peer reviewed.