ShanghAI Lectures: Weidong Chen “Modeling and control of mobile robotic networks”

14 August 2013

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WeidongChen_0Guest talk in the ShanghAI Lectures, 2010-12-16

Swarm intelligence of mobile robots is defined as a mobile robot network with only local interactions and finite sensing capabilities which however could achieve global objectives and collective behaviors. The most well-known examples of swarm intelligence in nature are discovered in the collective behaviors of ant and bee colonies. Self-healing is one of the most important components in swarm intelligence.

In this talk, we will provide a theoretical modelling as well as a control method for self-healing of mobile robot networks based on motion synchronization. Using the graph and complex network theories, we establish the model of a mobile robot network that combines switched network topologies with an interaction dynamic model for describing the motion of the robots. We propose a performance metric of the network topology to evaluate the stability and the robustness of motion synchronization, analyze the effect of failed robots upon the network topology, and show the necessity and principle of the self-healing method based on only local interactions. A fully distributed and recursive topology control for self-healing with switched topologies is then proposed. We show that the self-healing algorithm can prevent the network topology from being separated into two or more disconnected parts, and maintain the performance of the network. Based on the Lyapunov exponent, we further provide a criterion of the stability of the network with the proposed distributed control. Finally, we demonstrate the advantages of our self-healing method by performing simulations of two typical tasks, formation generation and coverage.

The ShanghAI Lectures are a videoconference-based lecture series on Embodied Intelligence, run and organized by Rolf Pfeifer (from 2009 till 2012), Fabio Bonsignorio (since 2013), and me with partners around the world. 

Weidong Chen received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Control Engineering in 1990 and 1993, and Ph.D. degree in Mechatronics in 1996, respectively, all from the Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China. Since 2005 he has been a professor of the Department of Automation at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, and director of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Processing. From 2003 to 2004, he was a visiting associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University. Dr. Chen’s research interests include autonomous mobile robot, multi-robot cooperation, and micro manipulation.

The ShanghAI Lectures have brought us a treasure trove of guest lectures by experts in robotics. You can find the whole series from 2012 here. Now, we’re bringing you the guest lectures you haven’t yet seen from previous years, starting with the first lectures from 2009 and releasing a new guest lecture every Thursday until all the series are complete. Enjoy!

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Nathan Labhart Co-organizing the ShanghAI Lectures since 2009.
Nathan Labhart Co-organizing the ShanghAI Lectures since 2009.

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