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Call for Award Nominations
Wed, May 31, 2023
Control theory and control technology have received renewed interests from applications involving service robots during the last two decades. In many scenarios, service robots are employed as networked mobile sensing platforms to collect data, sometimes in extreme environments in unprecedented ways. These applications post higher goals for autonomy that have never been achieved before, triggering new developments towards convergence of sensing, control, and communication.
Identifying mathematical models of spatial-temporal processes from collected data along trajectories of mobile sensors is a baseline goal for active perception in complex environment. The controlled motion of mobile sensors induces information dynamics in the measurements taken for the underlying spatial-temporal processes, which are typically represented by models that have two major components: the trend model and the variation model. The trend model is often described by deterministic partial differential equations, and the variation model is often described by stochastic processes. Hence, information dynamics are constrained by these representations. Based on the information dynamics and the constraints, learning algorithms can be developed to identify parameters for spatial-temporal models.
Certain designs of active sensing algorithms are inspired by animal and human behaviors. Our research designed the speed-up and speeding strategy (SUSD) that is inspired by the extraordinary capabilities of phototaxis from swarming fish. SUSD is a distributed active sensing strategy that reduces the need for information sharing among agents. Furthermore, SUSD leads to a generic derivative free optimization algorithm that has been applied to solve optimization problems where gradients are not well-defined, including mixed integer programing problems.
A perceivable trend in the control community is the rapid transition of fundamental discoveries to swarm robot applications. This is enabled by a collection of software, platforms, and testbeds shared across research groups. Such transition will generate significant impact to address the growing needs of robot swarms in applications including scientific data collection, search and rescue, aquaculture, intelligent traffic management, as well as human-robot teaming.