Distributed formation control of networked mobile robots in environments with obstacles

Whye Leon Seng, Jan Carlo Barca, Y. Ahmet Sekercioglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A distributed control mechanism for ground moving nonholonomic robots is proposed. It enablesa group of mobile robots to autonomously manage formation shapes while navigating throughenvironments with obstacles. The mechanism consists of two stages, with the first being formationcontrol that allows basic formation shapes to be maintained without the need of any inter-robotcommunication. It is followed by obstacle avoidance, which is designed with maintaining theformation in mind. Every robot is capable of performing basic obstacle avoidance by itself. However,to ensure that the formation shape is maintained, formation scaling is implemented. If the formationfails to hold its shape when navigating through environments with obstacles, formation morphinghas been incorporated to preserve the interconnectivity of the robots, thus reducing the possibility oflosing robots from the formation.The algorithm has been implemented on a nonholonomic multi-robot system for empiricalanalysis. Experimental results demonstrate formations completing an obstacle course within 12 swith zero collisions. Furthermore, the system is capable of withstanding up to 25% sensor noise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403 - 1415
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Robot networks
  • formation control
  • Swarm robotics

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