By Sousa, M.; Monteiro, S.; MacHado, T.; Erlhagen, W.; Bicho, E.
IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
In this paper, we show how a team of autonomous mobile robots, which drive in formation, can be endowed with basic cognitive capabilities. The formation control relies on the leader-follower strategy, with three main pair-wise con-figurations: column, line and oblique. Furthermore, non-linear attractor dynamics are used to generate basic robotic behaviors (i.e. follow-the-leader and avoid obstacles). The control archi-tecture of each follower integrates a representation of the leader (target) direction, which supports leader detection, selection between multiple leaders (decision) and temporary estimation of leader direction (short-term memory during occlusion and prediction). Formalized as a dynamic neural field, this additional layer is smoothly integrated with the motor movement control system. Experiments conducted in our 3D simulation software, as well as results from the implementation in middle size robotic platforms, show the ability for the team to navigate, whilst keeping formation, through unknown and unstructured environments and is robust against ambiguous and temporarily absent sensory information.