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Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1109;

Reconfigurable Formation Control of Multi-Agents Using Virtual Linkage Approach

Intelligent Robotics Institute, School of Mechatronical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
Key Laboratory of Biomimetic Robots and Systems, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100081, China
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Intelligent Robots and Systems, Beijing 100081, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Swarm Robotics)


Formation control is an important problem in cooperative robotics due to its broad applications. To address this problem, the concept of a virtual linkage is introduced. Using this idea, a group of robots is designed and controlled to behave as particles embedded in a mechanical linkage instead of as a single rigid body as with the virtual structure approach. As compared to the virtual structure approach, the method proposed here can reconfigure the group of robots into different formation patterns by coordinating the joint angles in the corresponding mechanical linkage. Meanwhile, there is no need to transmit all the robots’ state information to a single location and implement all of the computation on it, due to virtual linkage’s hierarchical architecture. Finally, the effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated using two simulations with nine robots: moving around a circle in line formation, and moving through a gallery with varying formation patterns. View Full-Text
Keywords: formation control; virtual structure; formation reconfiguration; multi-agents; robotics formation control; virtual structure; formation reconfiguration; multi-agents; robotics

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, Y.; Gao, J.; Liu, C.; Zhao, F.; Zhao, J. Reconfigurable Formation Control of Multi-Agents Using Virtual Linkage Approach. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 1109.

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