Research Post

Safe Coverage of Moving Domains for Vehicles with Second Order Dynamics


Autonomous coverage of a specified area by robots operating in close proximity with each other has many potential applications such as real-time monitoring of rapidly changing environments, and search and rescue; however, coordination and safety are two fundamental challenges. For coordination, we propose a distributed controller for covering moving, compact domains for two types of vehicles with second order dynamics (double integrator and fixed-wing aircraft) with bounded input forces. This control policy is based on artificial potentials and alignment forces designed to promote desired vehicle-domain and inter-vehicle separations and relative velocities. We prove that certain coverage configurations are locally asymptotically stable. For safety, we establish energy conditions for collision free motion and utilize Hamilton-Jacobi (HJ) reachability theory for last-resort pairwise collision avoidance. We derive an analytical solution to the associated HJ partial differential equation corresponding to the collision avoidance problem between two double integrator vehicles. We demonstrate our approach in several numerical simulations involving the two types of vehicles covering convex and non-convex moving domains.

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