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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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School of Engineering and Materials Science
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PhD Thesis: Formation control of nonholonomic mobile robots: the virtual structure approach

Author: SADOWSKA, Anna

Year: 2012

Supervisor(s): Henri Huijberts

In recent years, there has been a considerable growth in applications of multi-robot systems as opposed to single-robot systems. This thesis presents our proposed solutions to a formation control problem in which mobile robots are required to create a desired formation shape and track a desired trajectory as a whole. In the first instance, we study the formation control problem for unicycle mobile robots. We propose two control algorithms based on a cascaded approach: one based on a kinematic model of a robot and the other based on a dynamic model. We also propose a saturated controller in which actuator limitations are explicitly accounted for. To demonstrate how the control algorithms work, we present an extensive simulation and experimental study. Thereafter we move on to formation control algorithms in which the coordination error is explicitly defined. Thus, we are able to give conditions for robots keeping their desired formation shape without necessarily tracking the desired trajectory. We also introduce a controller in which both trajectory tracking and formation shape maintenance are achieved as well as a saturated algorithm. We validate the applicability of the introduced controllers in simulations and experiments. Lastly, we study the formation control problem for car-like robots. In this case we develop a controller using the backstepping technique. We give conditions for robots keeping their desired formation shape while failing to track their desired trajectories and present simulation results to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed controller.