Stable Synchronization of Rigid Body Networks

Sujit Nair and Naomi Ehrich Leonard,

Networks and Heterogeneous Media, American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 4, December 2007, 595-624.
We address stable synchronization of a network of rotating and translating rigid bodies in three-dimensional space. Motivated by applications that require coordinated spinning spacecraft or diving underwater vehicles, we prove control laws that stably couple and coordinate the dynamics of multiple rigid bodies. We design decentralized, energy shaping control laws for each individual rigid body that depend on the relative orientation and relative position of its neighbors. Energy methods are used to prove stability of the coordinated multi-body dynamical system. To prove exponential stability, we break symmetry and consider a controlled dissipation term that requires each individual to measure its own velocity. The control laws are illustrated in simulation for a network of spinning rigid bodies.

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