Cooperative Control of Mobile Sensor Networks: Adaptive Gradient Climbing in a Distributed Environment

Petter Ogren, Edward Fiorelli and Naomi Ehrich Leonard

IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Volume 49:8, August 2004, 1292-1302
We present a stable control strategy for groups of vehicles to move and re-configure cooperatively in response to a sensed, distributed environment. Each vehicle in the group serves as a mobile sensor and the vehicle network as a mobile and re-configurable sensor array. Our control strategy decouples, in part, the cooperative management of the network formation, the network maneuvers, and the network estimation of the environment. The underlying coordination framework uses virtual bodies and artificial potentials. We design the virtual body dynamics for two complementary purposes: we specify the direction of its motion to satisfy the network's environment-driven mission, and we regulate its speed to ensure network stability and convergence properties. We focus on gradient climbing missions in which the mobile sensor network seeks out local maxima or minima in the environmental field. The network can adapt its configuration in response to the sensed environment in order to optimize its gradient climb..

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