Control-guided Communication: Efficient Resource Arbitration and Allocation in Multi-hop Wireless Control Systems

Dominik Baumann, Fabian Mager, Marco Zimmerling, Sebastian Trimpe

In future autonomous systems, wireless multi-hop communication is key to enable collaboration among distributed agents at low cost and high flexibility. When many agents need to transmit information over the same wireless network, communication becomes a shared and contested resource. Event-triggered and self-triggered control account for this by transmitting data only when needed, enabling significant energy savings. However, a solution that brings those benefits to multi-hop networks and can reallocate freed up bandwidth to additional agents or data sources is still missing. To fill this gap, we propose control-guided communication, a novel co-design approach for distributed self-triggered control over wireless multi-hop networks. The control system informs the communication system of its transmission demands ahead of time, and the communication system allocates resources accordingly. Experiments on a cyber-physical testbed show that multiple cart-poles can be synchronized over wireless, while serving other traffic when resources are available, or saving energy. These experiments are the first to demonstrate and evaluate distributed self-triggered control over low-power multi-hop wireless networks at update rates of tens of milliseconds.

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