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Distributed formation-enforcing control for UAVs robust to observation noise in relative pose measurements

by   Viktor Walter, et al.

A technique that allows a formation-enforcing control (FEC) derived from graph rigidity theory to interface with a realistic relative localization system is proposed in this paper. Recent research in sensor-based multi-robot control has given rise to multiple modalities of mutual relative localization systems. In particular, vision-based relative localization has reached the stage where it can be carried onboard lightweight UAVs in order to retrieve the relative positions and relative orientations of cooperating units. A separate stream of development spawned distributed formation-enforcing control which can lead individual robots into a desired formation using relative localization of their neighbors. These two fields naturally complement each other by achieving real-world flights of UAVs in formation without the need for absolute localization in the world. However, real relative localization systems are, without exception, burdened by non-negligible sensory noise, which is typically not fully taken into account in formation-enforcing control algorithms. Such noise can lead to rapid changes in velocity, which further interferes with visual localization. Our approach provides a solution to these challenges, enabling practical deployment of FEC under realistic conditions, as we demonstrated in real-world experiments.


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