A key problem in cooperative robotics is the maintenance of ageometric configuration during movement. To address this problem, theconcept of a Virtual Structure isintroduced. Using this idea, a general control strategy is developedto force an ensemble of robots to behave as if they were particlesembedded in a rigid structure. The method was instantiated and testedusing both simulation and experimentation with a set of 3differential drive mobile robots. Results are presented thatdemonstrate that this approach is capable of achieving high precisionmovement that is fault tolerant and exhibits graceful degradation ofperformance. In addition, this algorithm does not require leaderselection as in other cooperative robotic strategies. Finally, themethod is inherently highly flexible in the kinds of geometricformations that can be maintained.
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Lewis, M.A., Tan, KH. High Precision Formation Control of Mobile Robots Using Virtual Structures. Autonomous Robots 4, 387–403 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008814708459