Ares Lab

Friday, 24 October 2014
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Cooperative Networked Control of Dynamical Peer-to-Peer Vehicle Systems
 DARPA and AFOSR (Lt. Col. Sharon Heise)

The proliferation of computing and wireless communication technology has opened up tremendous possibilities for deploying large cooperative networks of smart vehicles to perform intricate and complex missions. It is evident that collaborative teams of aerial and ground vehicles can perform a plethora of highly beneficial tasks for achieving military objectives and civilian security. Despite the emergence of very successful control design techniques for single vehicle systems, and the almost ubiquitous existence of distributed software systems, systematic methodologies for the reliable construction of cooperative networked multi-vehicle systems are effectively nonexistent.

The major objective of our consortium is the development of a rigorous theoretical foundation, and scalable an- alytical tools and paradigms, so that such systems can be systematically constructed and their performance formally verified. More generally, the activity of this program can be expected to have a dramatic impact on understanding and designing large-scale robust real-time distributed systems. Our goals are to make use of recent algorithmic develop- ments to provide hard performance guarantees and bounds for systems performing sophisticated tasks in uncertain and dynamic physical situations.

The focus of our project is on the control algorithms and internal software required to develop systems which are verifiably robust. Such systems must operate under situations with significant external environmental uncertainty, combined with malicious attacks and rapidly evolving mission objectives, and these issues are a central concern for current and future autonomous systems. A major direction of the proposed program is the frontier between the design methodologies of distributed software systems and those of robust feedback control, an area which holds significant promise for advances with dramatic theoretical and practical impact.