Autonomous rigid body attitude synchronization

Alain Sarlette, Rodolphe Sepulchre and Naomi Ehrich Leonard

Automatica, Volume 45, Issue 2, February 2009, 572-577.
Control laws to synchronize attitudes in a swarm of fully actuated rigid bodies, in the absence of a common reference attitude or hierarchy in the swarm, are proposed in [Smith, T. R., Hanssmann, H., & Leonard, N.E. (2001). Orientation control of multiple underwater vehicles with symmetry-breaking potentials. In Proc. 40th IEEE conf. decision and control (pp. 4598-4603); Nair, S., Leonard, N. E. (2007). Stable synchronization of rigid body networks. Networks and Heterogeneous Media, 2(4), 595-624]. The present paper studies two separate extensions with the same energy shaping approach: (i) locally synchronizing the rigid bodies' attitudes, but without restricting their final motion and (ii) relaxing the communication topology from undirected, fixed and connected to directed, varying and uniformly connected. The specific strategies that must be developed for these extensions illustrate the limitations of attitude control with reduced information.

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