A Framework for Scalable Cooperative Navigation of Autonomous Vehicles
General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory
We describe a general framework for controlling and coordinating a group of non-holonomic mobile robots equipped with range sensors, with applications ranging from scouting and reconnaissance, to search and rescue and manipulation tasks. We first describe a set of control laws that allows each robot to control its position and orientation with respect to neighboring robots or obstacles in the environment. We then develop a coordination protocol that allows the robots to automatically switch between the control laws to follow a specified trajectory. Finally, we describe two simple trajectory generators that are derived from potential field theory. The first allows each robot to plan its reference trajectory based on the information available to it. The second scheme requires sharing of information and results in a trajectory for the designated leader. Numerical simulations illustrate the application of these ideas and demonstrate the scalability of the proposed framework for a large group of robots.