Distributed multirobot formation and tracking control in cluttered environments

Muhammad Umer Khan, Shuai Li, Qixin Wang, Zili Shao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we propose formation control of nonholonomic mobile robots avoiding obstacles in a distributed manner for cluttered environments. The introduction of a virtual robot restructures the formation control problem into a tracking control problem between the virtual reference robot and follower robots. A novel obstacle avoidance approach is proposed based upon the scaling of whole (partial) formation corresponding to a centralized (distributed) framework. For the distributed environment with limited communication, our approach utilized proportional-integral average consensus estimators, whereby information from each robot diffuses through the communication network. The theoretical contribution is to determine the time constant involved in the diffusion process, which can affect overall system performance. The asymptotic convergence of follower robots to the position and orientation of the reference robot is ensured using the Lyapunov function. The new technique is tested with complete, limited, and no information availability. Several simulation results are provided that demonstrate the formation control and obstacle avoidance for multirobots using the proposed scheme.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Consensus
  • Distributed
  • Formation control
  • Multirobot systems
  • Nonholonomic systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Software

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