Multi-Robot Control Using Time-Varying Density Functions

Sung G. Lee, Magnus Egerstedt

This paper presents an approach to externally influencing a team of robots by means of time-varying density functions. These density functions represent rough references for where the robots should be located. To this end, a continuous-time algorithm is proposed that moves the robots so as to provide optimal coverage given the density functions as they evolve over time. The developed algorithm represents an extension to previous coverage algorithms in that time-varying densities are explicitly taken into account in a provable manner. A distributed approximation to this algorithm is moreover proposed whereby the robots only need to access information from adjacent robots. Simulations and robotic experiments show that the proposed algorithms do indeed exhibit the desired behaviors in practice as well as in theory.

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