Passivity-based Decentralized Bilateral Teleoperation of Groups of Mobile Robots with Fixed and Time-Varying Topology

October 03, 2011, ESB room 2003

Antonio Franchi


This talk will present some recent theoretical and experimental results in the relatively new topic of Bilateral Teleoperation of Multiple Mobile Robots, with special regard to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) case. In this non-conventional teleoperation field a human operator partially controls the behavior of a semi-autonomous swarm of mobile-robots by means of one or more haptic interfaces, and receives back a force cue which is informative both of the swarm tracking performance and of some relevant properties of the surrounding environment (e.g., presence of obstacles or other threats). This kind of systems are designed in order to enhance the telepresence of the operator and the quality of the human robot interaction, especially when applied to practical scenarios, like search and rescue, surveillance, exploration and mapping. The focus of the talk will be on the design of a stable bilateral interconnection between the user and the group of robots considered either (1) as a deformable object with a given shape (fixed topology) to be achieved with suitable formation control algorithms, or (2) a swarm of agents with time-varying topology which dynamically adapts to the environment while preserving the global connectivity and selects the best leader in a decentralized way.

Speaker's Bio

Antonio Franchi is a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for biological Cybernetics. He obtained the master degree in electronic engineering and the PhD in Control, Systems Theory and Robotics at "La Sapienza" University of Rome.

His research interests are focused on autonomous systems and robotics, i.e., on machines which are able to acquire information from an environment, elaborate that information, and then autonomously act on the environment to perform a task. The main goals of this field are to obtain a large degree of autonomy in unstructured environments and a high quality and effectiveness in the interaction between the human and the machine. These two are fundamental steps needed to move the robots from being confined in factories to finally get into our everyday’s life.

He is specialized in multiple robot/agent systems, in particular in the following fields: human-in-the-loop bilateral control of multi-robot systems, coverage and mapping algorithms, formation control, mutual localization.

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