Engineering Research Seminar Series 19, 2011: Distributed Planning and Control of Multirobot Formations with Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance

Dr Kuppan Chetty Ramanathan, lecturer from School of Engineering, Monash University Sunway Campus

Date: 2011-06-02
Time: 15:00 to 16:00
Venue: Classroom 9-3-07


Multi Robot Formation and Platoon problems for search and surveillance and industrial applications respectively require multiple robots to form up and move in a defined spatial pattern. Solving these problems is quite interesting interms of traditional and distributed control algorithms. However, traditional control theory mostly enables the design of controllers in a single mode of operation, in which the task and the model of the system are fixed. When operating in unknown, dynamic environment with different sources of uncertainty, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to design controllers that will guarantee performance even in a local sense. Hence there is a need for distributed controllers to be developed for this kind of control problems. To meet the above requirement, a new distributed methodology for the multi robot formation platoons of unicycle robots is presented in this seminar. The proposed methodology combines the formation planning and navigation based on the hierarchical architecture composed of layers, whose components are the fundamental behaviours/motion states of the robots. Apart from combining formation planning and navigation, one of the most important problems and the major challenge is the avoidance of obstacles in the path of the robots designated other than the leader while guiding the robot group in an unknown environment.  To address this problem, a dynamic role switching methodology, based on the exchange of leadership between the robots and its behaviors, is incorporated in the control methodology to actively avoid the obstacle in the path of the robots designated other than the leader in the group. The effect of functional parameters of the formation approach such as the Instantaneous centre of curvature/ radius (ICC/ICR), linear separation (ld) and angular separation (jd) and their relationships along with the formation convergence are also investigated through simulation and experimental studies. Results on simulation and experimentation shows, that the distribution of the control law into several motion states of the robots makes the formation problem easier to solve. Further, the results shows the capability of the proposed layered approach to control multiple robots in a group by dynamically switching of behaviors in and out of execution with stable formation.

About the Speaker

Dr Kuppan Chetty Ramanathan is currently a Lecturer at School of Engineering, Monash University Sunway Campus Malaysia. He obtained his PhD in Robotics and Control from IIT Madras, India in 2010. Prior to that, he received his B.E. in Instrumentation and Control Engineering in 2002 from the Madurai Kamaraj University and his Masters of Technology in Sensor Systems Technology in 2004 from Vellore Institute of Technology. In addition he has served as a Project officer, at IIT Madras prior to joining Monash, where he was involved in design and establishment of Remote Robotics laboratory an e-laboratory platform under Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Govt. Of INDIA. His research areas are in Networked robotics, Vision based robotic Systems, Opto Mechatronics and Optical Fiber Sensors.