Cooperative Control of Heterogeneous Multivehicle Systems
As advances in mechanics, drive technology, microelectronics, control and communications make unmanned vehicles ever more capable and affordable, the deployment of teams of such autonomous vehicles is becoming a reality. A team of vehicles equipped with a diverse set of sensors, radios and actuators offers numerous advantages over a single unit. Some of the potential advantages include increased fault tolerance, redundancy, greater area coverage, distributed sensing and coordinated manipulation of large objects. Achieving the desired group behavior requires adequate integration of control and decision making mechanisms, and communication protocols. In this talk, I will describe approaches that enable prioritized sensing and make use of team of agents with different capabilities when large search areas need to be investigated. A heterogeneous team allows for the robots to become specialized in their abilities and therefore accomplish sub-goals more efficiently which in turn makes the overall mission more efficient. Moreover, I will present our recent results on planning for robotic routers to establish a communication network that will allow human operators or other agents to communicate with remote base stations or data fusion centers. Finally, I will outline our current work on key methodologies that enable agile load transportation using micro UAVs.