Hybrid Control of Multi-robot Systems under Complex Temporal Tasks
Abstract: Autonomous robots like household service robots, self-driving cars and dronesare emerging as important parts of our daily lives in the near future. They need tocomprehend and fulfill complex tasks specified by the users with minimal humanintervention. Also they should be able to handle un-modeled changes and contingentevents in the workspace. More importantly, they shall communicate and collaboratewith each other in an efficient and correct manner. In this thesis, we address theseissues by focusing on the distributed and hybrid control of multi-robot systemsunder complex individual tasks.We start from the nominal case where a single dynamical robot is deployed in astatic and fully-known workspace. Its local tasks are specified as Linear TemporalLogic (LTL) formulas containing the desired motion. We provide an automatedframework as the nominal solution to construct the hybrid controller that drives therobot such that its resulting trajectory satisfies the given task. Then we expand theproblem by considering a team of networked dynamical robots, where each robot hasa locally-specified individual task also as LTL formulas. In particular, we analyzefour different aspects as described below.When the workspace is only partially known to each robot, the nominal solutionmight be inadequate. Thus we first propose an algorithm for initial plan synthesis tohandle partially infeasible tasks that contain hard and soft constraints. We designan on-line scheme for each robot to verify and improve its local plan during runtime, utilizing its sensory measurements and communications with other robots. Itis ensured that the hard constraints for safety are always fulfilled while the softconstraints for performance are improved gradually.Secondly, we introduce a new approach to construct a full model of both robotmotion and actions. Based on this model, we can specify much broader robotic tasksand it is used to model inter-robot collaborative actions, which are essential for manymulti-robot applications to improve system capability, efficiency and robustness.Accordingly, we devise a distributed strategy where the robots coordinate theirmotion and action plans to fulfill the desired collaboration by their local tasks.Thirdly, continuous relative-motion constraints among the robots, such as collision avoidance and connectivity maintenance, are closely related to the stability,safety and integrity of multi-robot systems. We propose two different hybrid controlapproaches to guarantee the satisfaction of all local tasks and the relative-motionconstraints at all time: the first one is based on potential fields and nonlinear controltechnique; the second uses Embedded Graph Grammars (EGGs) as the main tool.At last, we take into account two common cooperative robotic tasks, namelyservice and formation tasks. These tasks are requested and exchanged among therobots during run time. The proposed hybrid control scheme ensures that the real-time plan execution incorporates not only local tasks of each robot but also thecontingent service and formation tasks it receives.Some of the theoretical results of the thesis have been implemented and demonstrated on various robotic platforms.
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