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We present a distributed scheme used for control over a network of wireless nodes. As opposed to traditional networked control schemes where the nodes simply route information to and from a dedicated controller (perhaps performing some encoding along the way), our approach, Wireless Control Network (WCN), treats the network itself as the controller. In other words, the computation of the control law is done in a fully distributed way inside the network. We extend the basic WCN strategy, where at each time-step, each node updates its internal state to be a linear combination of the states of the nodes in its neighborhood. This causes the entire network to behave as a linear dynamical system, with sparsity constraints imposed by the network topology. We demonstrate that with observer style updates, the WCN's robustness to link failures is substantially improved. Furthermore, we show how to design a WCN that can maintain stability even in cases of node failures. We also address the problem of WCN synthesis with guaranteed optimal performance of the plant, with respect to standard cost functions. We extend the synthesis procedure to deal with continuous-time plants and demonstrate how the WCN can be used on a practical, industrial application, using a process-in-the-loop setup with real hardware.
Cooperative control, decentralized control, networked control systems, wireless sensor networks
Date Posted: 02 March 2012
This document has been peer reviewed.