Decentralized stochastic control of robotic swarm density: Theory, simulation, and experiment

Hanjun Li, Chunhan Feng, Henry Ehrhard, Yijun Shen, Bernardo Cobos, Fangbo Zhang, Karthik Elamvazhuthi, Spring Berman, Matt Haberland, Andrea L. Bertozzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores a stochastic approach for controlling swarms of independent robots toward a target distribution in a bounded domain. The robot swarm has no central controller, and individual robots lack both communication and localization capabilities. Robots can only measure a scalar field (e.g. concentration of a chemical) from the environment and from this deduce the desired local swarm density. Based on this value, each robot follows a simple control law that causes the swarm as a whole to diffuse toward the target distribution. Using a new holonomic drive robot, we present the first confirmation of this control law with physical experiment. Despite deviations from assumptions underpinning the theory, the swarm achieves the theorized convergence to the target distribution in both simulation and experiment. In fact, simulated and experimental performance agree with one another and with our hypothesis that the error from the target distribution is inversely proportional to the square root of the number of robots. This is evidence that the algorithm is both practical and easily scalable to large swarms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIROS 2017 - IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages4341-4347
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781538626825
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 13 2017
Event2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2017 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: Sep 24 2017Sep 28 2017

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Volume2017-September
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866

Other

Other2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2017
CountryCanada
CityVancouver
Period9/24/179/28/17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications

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