Single-view distance-estimation-based formation control of robotic swarms
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This paper presents a practical formation motion control scheme for robotic swarms based on single-view distance estimation, which is performed using a single nonsophisticated camera on each robot agent, and the prior information about the heights of the robots and other objects in the environment. Here, a nonsophisticated camera means one that has limited field of view and limited resolution. First, the vision mechanism is analyzed, and a single-view distance estimation scheme is designed. Then, a set of decentralized control laws, to be incorporated with distance estimation scheme, is introduced to move the robotic swarm in formation from an arbitrary initial position to an arbitrary final position without deforming the formation shape. The robots do not have any global positioning sensors, and they do not communicate with each other. The stability and performance of the overall system are analyzed mathematically. Later, practical issues are discussed regarding the proposed scheme, and the effects of delay and quantization in distance estimation are formally analyzed. Finally, we present experimental results demonstrating the performance of the proposed control scheme in real time.