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Keywords:

  • Lyapunov-based control scheme;
  • split/rejoin;
  • expansion/contraction;
  • formation control;
  • tunnel passing

SUMMARY

Tunnel passing is a pattern formation of multiple robots, an outcome of formation control which is the general problem of controlling a large number of robots required to move as a group. Tunnel passing deals with the task of driving a team of robots from arbitrary initial positions through a tunnel of given geometry. This paper proposes a decentralized planner that guarantees collision-free tunnel passing maneuvers of a team of nonholonomic car-like robots fixed in a prescribed formation, while considering all the practical limitations and constraints due to nonholonomy, tunnel geometry, and the formation specifications. Although solutions in literature are restricted to tunnels with linear segments, this paper introduces piecewise tunnel walls with straight and curved segments. The motion planner, derived from the Lyapunov-based control scheme works within an overarching leader-follower framework to generate either split/rejoin or expansion/contraction of the formation, as feasible solutions. Results from simulating virtual scenarios demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed nonlinear controllers. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.