A combinatorial approach for developing ring communication graphs for vehicle formations

[+] Author and Article Information
Shyamprasad Konduri

Department of Mechanical Engineering Texas A and M University College Station, Texas 77843

Prabhakar R. Pagilla

Department of Mechanical Engineering Texas A and M University College Station, Texas 77843

Swaroop Darbha

Department of Mechanical Engineering Texas A and M University College Station, Texas 77843

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036565 History: Received August 26, 2016; Revised April 13, 2017


In this paper, we study vehicle formations employing a ring structured communication strategy and propose a combinatorial approach to the development of ring graphs for vehicle formations. A ring graph is formed when each vehicle receives information from its predecessor and the lead vehicle receives information from the last vehicle, thus forming a ring in its basic form. In such basic form, the communication distance between the first and the last vehicle increases with the platoon size, which creates implementation issues due to sensing range limitations. If a communication protocol such as the token ring protocol is employed, the delay in updating information and communication arises from the need for the token to travel across the entire graph. To overcome this limitation, alternative ring graphs formed by smaller communication distances between vehicles are proposed. For a given formation and a constraint on the maximum communication distance between any two vehicles, an algorithm to generate a ring graph is obtained by formulating the problem as an instance of the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). Generation of a ring communication graph is not straightforward for two- and three-dimensional formations; the TSP formulation allows this for both two and three-dimensional formations with specific constraints. In addition, with ring communication structure, it is possible to devise simple ways to reconfigure the graph when vehicles are added to the formation, which is discussed. Further, experimental results using mobile robots for platooning and two-dimensional formations using ring graphs are shown and discussed.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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