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research-article

A Decentralized, Communication-Free Force Distribution method with application to Collective Object Manipulation

[+] Author and Article Information
Shadi Tasdighi Kalat

Mechanical Engieenering Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
stasdighikalat@wpi.edu

Siamak G. Faal

Soft Robotics Laboratory, Robotics Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
sghorbanifaal@wpi.edu

Cagdas D. Onal

Soft Robotics Laboratory, Mechanical Engineering Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
cdonal@wpi.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039669 History: Received December 30, 2016; Revised March 05, 2018

Abstract

We present a novel approach to achieve decentralized distribution of forces in a multi-robot system. In this approach, each robot in the group relies on the behavior of a cooperative virtual teammate that is defined independent of the population and formation of the real team. Consequently, such formulation eliminates the need for inter-agent communications or leader-follower architectures. In particular, effectiveness of the method is studied in a collective manipulation problem where the objective is to control the position and orientation of a body in time. To experimentally validate the performance of the proposed method, a new swarm agent, Dr (Delta-Rho) is introduced. A multi-robot system, consisting of five Dr agents is then utilized as the experimental setup. The obtained results are also compared with a norm-optimal centralized controller by quantitative metrics. Experimental results prove the performance of the algorithm in different tested scenarios and demonstrate a scalable, versatile, and robust system-level behavior.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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