Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Conference Paper

Subject Area


Date of this Version

May 2002


Copyright 2002 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2002 (ICRA 2002), Volume 2, pages 1217-1222.
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We describe a framework for controlling and coordinating a group of robots for cooperative manipulation tasks. The framework enables a decentralized approach to planning and control. It allows the robots approach the object, organize themselves into a formation that will trap the object, and then transport the object to the desired destination. Our controllers and planners are derived from simple potential fields and the hierarchical composition of potential fields. We show how these potential field based controllers and planners benefit complex group interactions, specifically for manipulating and transporting objects in the plane. Theoretically, we show how we can derive results on formation stability with potential field based controllers in many cases. Simulation results demonstrate successful application to a wide range of examples without showing sensitivity to parameters. Because the framework is decentralized at both trajectory generation level and the estimation and control agent level, our framework can potentially scale to groups of tens and hundreds of robots.



Date Posted: 15 November 2004

This document has been peer reviewed.