Controlling Many Differential- Drive Robots with Uniform Control Inputs



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International Journal of Robotics Research


This paper derives both open-loop and closed-loop control policies that steer a finite set of differential-drive robots to desired positions in a two-dimensional workspace, when all robots receive the same control inputs but each robot turns at a slightly different rate. In the absence of perturbation, the open-loop policy achieves zero error in finite time. In the presence of perturbation, the closed-loop policy is globally asymptotically stabilizing with state feedback. Both policies were validated with hardware experiments using up to 15 robots. These experimental results suggest that similar policies might be applied to control micro- and nanoscale robotic systems, which are often subject to similar constraints.



Ensemble control, Microbots, Nanobots, Path planning for multiple mobile robot systems, Nonholonomic motion planning, Underactuated robots, Telerobotics, Multi-agent control, Uniform inputs


Copyright 2014 International Journal of Robotics Research. This is a pre-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Becker, Aaron, Cem Onyuksel, Timothy Bretl, and James McLurkin. "Controlling many differential-drive robots with uniform control inputs." The international journal of Robotics Research 33, no. 13 (2014): 1626-1644. DOI: 10.1177/0278364914543481 This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.