Formation-containment tracking and scaling for multiple quadcopterswith an application to choke-point navigation

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This paper investigates the cooperative control problem of choke-point navigation for multiple quadcopters when only their subgroup is equipped with obstacle detecting sensors. We define a quadcopter as a leader if it is equipped with an obstacle detecting sensor; otherwise, it is a follower. In addition, we introduce a virtual leader agent to create the group motion. First, we apply the leader-follower approach and propose a formation-containment tracking controller for multiple quadcopters to track the time-varying velocity of the virtual leader agent. At the same time, the leader quadcopters form the prescribed formation while the follower quadcopters converge inside a safe region, which is the convex hull spanned by those leaders. Then, we introduce a scaling vector into the displacement-based formation constraints. When the leader quadcopters identify the choke-point via their obstacle detecting sensors, they update the scaling variable to adjust the size of the formation (i.e. the safe region) and guide all quadcopters to safely pass through the choke-point. The proposed cooperative controllers are distributed because each quadcopter’s control command only relies on the information states from its neighbours. Finally, two autonomous flight experiments, including formation-containment tracking and choke-point navigation, are provided to validate the effectiveness of the proposed cooperative control laws.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 39th IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Feb 2022