Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics ›› 2014, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (3): 470-482.doi: 10.1109/JSEE.2014.00054

• CONTROL THEORY AND APPLICATION • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Flocking of multi-robot systems with connectivity maintenance on directed graphs

Yutian Mao1,2, Lihua Dou1,2,*, Hao Fang1,2, and Jie Chen1,2   

  1. 1. School of Automation, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Intelligent Control and Decision of Complex Systems, Beijing 100081, China
  • Online:2014-07-01 Published:2010-01-03


Analysis and design techniques for cooperative flocking of nonholonomic multi-robot systems with connectivity maintenance on directed graphs are presented. First, a set of bounded and smoothly distributed control protocols are devised via carefully designing a class of bounded artificial potential fields (APF) which could guarantee the connectivity maintenance, collision avoidance and distance stabilization simultaneously during the system evolution. The connectivity of the underlying network can be preserved, and the desired stable flocking behavior can be achieved provided that the initial communication topology is strongly connected rather than undirected or balanced, which relaxes the constraints for group topology and extends the previous work to more generalized directed graphs. Furthermore, the proposed control algorithm is extended to solve the flocking problem with a virtual leader. In this case, it is shown that all robots can asymptotically move with the desired velocity and orientation even if there is only one informed robot in the team. Finally, nontrivial simulations and experiments are conducted to verify the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.