Optimization and Systems Theory Seminar
Friday, April 27, 2001, 11.00-12.00, Room 3721, Lindstedtsvägen 25

Associate Professor Naomi Ehrich Leonard
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
E-mail: naomi@princeton.edu

Schooling autonomous vehicles with artificial potentials

We describe distributed control laws that are designed to allow a group of autonomous vehicles to perform maneuvers that resemble schooling or flocking. Natural schools and flocks are notable for their remarkable capacity to display highly organized group-level behaviors; the group exhibits an "emergent intelligence" that arises from individual-level behaviors. For our group of vehicles, we govern individual-level behavior with control laws that derive from artificial potentials. Artificial potentials define local interaction between neighboring vehicles so as to enforce desired inter-vehicle spacing and inter-vehicle orientation alignment in the emergent schooling behavior. Virtual beacons are introduced to manipulate group geometry and direct the motion of the group. A virtual beacon is a moving reference point that influences vehicles in its neighborhood by means of additional artificial potentials. A Lyapunov function is constructed from the artificial potentials for analysis of the closed-loop, multiple-vehicle system dynamics. In the case of orientation control of multiple rigid underwater vehicles in 3D, we make extensive use of symmetry, reduction and other tools from geometric mechanics. We conclude with a discussion of the multiple underwater vehicle experimental test-bed that we are developing at Princeton.
Calendar of seminars
Last update: March 21, 2001 by Anders Forsgren, anders.forsgren@math.kth.se.