consensus seeking, cooperative control, formation control, multiple vehicle control


In the last two decades, advances in networking and distributed computing have facilitated a paradigm shift from large, monolithic mainframe computers to networks of less expensive, less powerful workstations. One motivation for multi-vehicle systems is to achieve the same gains for mechanically controlled systems as has been gained in distributed computation. Rather than having a single monolithic (and therefore expensive and complicated) machine do everything, the hope is that many inexpensive, simple machines, can achieve the same, or enhanced functionality, through coordination. In essence, the objective is to replace expensive complicated hardware with software and multiple copies of simple hardware. There are numerous applications for multi-vehicle systems including space-based observations, future combat systems, smart homes, enhanced surveillance systems, hazardous material handling systems, and reconfigurable sensing systems.

Original Publication Citation

Wei Ren, Randal W. Beard, and Ella M. Atkins. "Information Consensus and its Application in Multi-vehicle Cooperative Control," IEEE Control Systems Magazine, April 2007. 71-82.

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Electrical and Computer Engineering