Self-organization is a pervasive phenomenon in nature, which has inspired the development of multi-robot systems that can mimick their biological counterparts. As we consider larger groups of autonomous agents or swarms, new theoretical challenges appear that are associated with both their size and robotic-system limitations. In this talk, we outline recent work on two complementary problems related to the control of large swarms. First, we consider a deployment objective by which robots are to be shaped into certain density profile. Under the assumption that agents can obtain measurements of the local density, but do not have access to absolute position information, we propose a PDE-based feedback control strategy that includes the distributed computation of diffeomorphisms. Then we discuss how to handle complementary set of limitations such as lack of access to position information, noisy actuation, or optimal transport under distributed gradient flows. To finish, we present preliminary results on the identification of subsets of nodes that are critical for the performance of spatial consensus algorithms in large groups.
Speaker: Sonia Martinez, UC San Diego
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