Information Flow and Cooperative Control of Vehicle Formations

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J. Alexander Fax and Richard M. Murray
2002 IFAC World Congress

Vehicles in formation often lack global information regarding the state of all the vehicles, a deficiency which can lead to instability and poor performance. In this paper, we demonstrate how exchange of minimal amounts of information between vehicles can be designed to realize a dynamical system which supplies each vehicle with a shared reference trajectory. When the information flow law is placed in the control loop, a separation principle is proven which guarantees stability of the formation and convergence of the information flow law regardless of the information flow topology.