Cooperative Control of Robot Formations

  • Rafael Fierro
  • Peng Song
  • Aveek Das
  • Vijay Kumar
Part of the Applied Optimization book series (APOP, volume 66)


We describe a framework for controlling and coordinating a group of nonholonomic mobile robots equipped with range sensors, with applications ranging from scouting and reconnaissance, to search and rescue and manipulation tasks. We derive control algorithms that allow the robots to control their position and orientation with respect to neighboring robots or obstacles in the environment. We then outline a coordination protocol that automatically switches between the control laws to maintain a specified formation. Two simple trajectory generators 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 enables a rigid group formation. Numerical simulations illustrate the application of these ideas and demonstrate the scalability of the proposed framework for a large group of robots.


formation control potential functions nonholonomic mobile robots switching control 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Fierro
    • 1
  • Peng Song
    • 1
  • Aveek Das
    • 1
  • Vijay Kumar
    • 1
  1. 1.GRASP Lab.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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