Experimental Test-Bed for Multi-Vehicle Control, Navigation and Communication

Ralf Bachmayer and Naomi Ehrich Leonard

Proceedings 12th International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology, Durham NH, 2001..
In this paper we describe the design and evaluation of the prototype vehicle for a new test-bed developed for multi-vehicle control, navigation and communication. The vehicle is designed for high reliability and easy reconfiguration using smart sensor and actuator interfaces. It is passively stable in pitch and roll and is actuated by five thrusters. The actuators allow for full control of the remaining four degrees of freedom. We are developing the multi-vehicle test-bed to test control algorithms that demonstrate coordinated and cooperative behavior of a network of vehicles for adaptive ocean sampling and other applications. In our design of coordinating control laws, we are inspired by the remarkable capabilities of schooling fish. To illustrate, we describe a multi-vehicle approach to gradient climbing. The simple control algorithm that we present allows two vehicles that observe one another to climb a gradient under the constraint that each vehicle can only take single point measurements.

(10 pages pdf)
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