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Fundamental Advances in Control of Wireless Sensor and Robotic Networks


Main Participants

Nikhil Chopra and YenChen Liu


This project is sponsored by National Science Foundation.


Networked robotic systems, wireless sensors networks, unreliable communication, distributed synchronization

About the project

In contrast with Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), Wireless Sensor and Robotic Networks (WSRN) are not only composed of a large number of sensor nodes and sinks, but also include robotic systems that may coordinate with each other or use the sensed information to act on an environment. Therefore, WSRN are capable of influencing an environment in real-time based on the sensed information, which is collected by wireless sensor network.

The proposed architecture of a WSRN leads to sensor-robot, robot-robot, and sink-robot communication and coordination. Time-varying delays, noise, and packet losses, which arise from communication over the wireless network communication leads to instability and degrade the system performance. The proposed research will focus on several challenging issues such control of robots with input/output delays, discrete network dynamics, coordination of multiple robotic systems and sensor networks.


1. Development of algorithms for network control of robotic systems.
2. Development of architectures and algorithms for coordination in WSRN.

Overview of Approach

1. Network Control of Robotic Systems. Network control of nonlinear robotic systems is a challenging problem even with very small time delays in the control input or the plant output. Several approaches have been proposed to address time delay instability in control systems; however, most designs are very conservative and lead to poor performance. In this project, the combination of passivity-based control and switching control will be used to investigate the aforementioned issues.
2. Coordination in Wireless Sensor and Robotic Networks. Distributed synchronization is an important mechanism for cooperative control. Motivated by results on synchronization of networked robotic system, coordination algorithms will be developed for WSRN. The proposed distributed coordination algorithm will be designed to be robust to communication uncertainties.


Dr. Nikhil Chopra
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute for Systems Research
2149 Glenn L. Martin Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD-20742
Phone: 301-405-7011


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