Distributed Obstacle and Multi-Robot Collision Avoidance in Uncertain Environments

Vu Phi Tran, Matthew Garratt, Ian R. Petersen

This paper tackles the distributed leader-follower (L-F) control problem for heterogeneous mobile robots in unknown environments requiring obstacle avoidance, inter-robot collision avoidance, and reliable robot communications. To prevent an inter-robot collision, we employ a virtual propulsive force between robots. For obstacle avoidance, we present a novel distributed Negative-Imaginary (NI) variant formation tracking control approach and a dynamic network topology methodology which allows the formation to change its shape and the robot to switch their roles. In the case of communication or sensor loss, a UAV, controlled by a Strictly-Negative-Imaginary (SNI) controller with good wind resistance characteristics, is utilized to track the position of the UGV formation using its camera. Simulations and indoor experiments have been conducted to validate the proposed methods.

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