Formations with a Mission: Stable Coordination of Vehicle Group Maneuvers

Petter Ogren, Edward Fiorelli and Naomi Ehrich Leonard

Proc. 15th International Symposium on Mathematical Theory of Networks and Systems, August, 2002
In this paper we present a stable coordination strategy for vehicle formation missions that involve group translation, rotation, expansion and contraction. The underlying coordination framework uses artificial potentials and virtual leaders. Symmetry in the framework is exploited to partially decouple the mission control problem into a formation management subproblem and a maneuver management subproblem. The designed dynamics of the virtual leaders play a key role in both subproblems: the direction of motion of the virtual leaders is designed to satisfy the mission while the speed of the virtual leaders is designed to ensure stability and convergence properties of the formation. The latter is guaranteed by regulating the virtual leader speed according to a feedback measurement of an appropriate formation error function. The coordination strategy is illustrated in the context of adaptive gradient climbing missions.

(15 pages pdf)
(15 pages postscript)
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