Distributed Shape Control of Homogeneous Swarms
of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Autonomous Robots (intl. journal) 2006

Shahab Kalantar & Uwe R. Zimmer

In this paper, we study large formations of underwater autonomous vehicles for the purposes of exploration and sampling the ocean surface. The formations or aggregates we consider are composed of up to hundreds of robots with the capability of forming various complex shapes dictated by the shape of the region to be explored, as well as special shapes suitable for migration. The shapes are determined through bathymetric maps and described with reduced-dimensional representation techniques. The approach we propose is that of breaking up the control and coordination strategy into two decoupled problems, i.e., partitioning the aggregate into two non-overlapping sets: its boundary and its interior. The boundary uses general theory of curve evolution to form shapes while the interior passively complies, using attraction-repulsion forces, to form a uniform distribution inside the boundary. This makes the problem much more tractable than previous methods. Decision making by individual robots is entirely based on local information. autonomous underwater vehicles, formation control, swarm control

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