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Distributed Receding Horizon Control of Multiagent Systems


Dunbar, William Bruce (2004) Distributed Receding Horizon Control of Multiagent Systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/1N74-MZ62.


Multiagent systems arise in several domains of engineering. Examples include arrays of mobile sensor networks for aggregate imagery, autonomous highways, and formations of unmanned aerial vehicles. In these contexts, agents are governed by vehicle dynamics and often constraints, and the control objective is achieved by cooperation. Cooperation refers to the agreement of the agents to 1) have a common objective with neighboring agents, with the objective typically decided offline, and 2) share information online to realize the objective. To be viable, the control approach for multiagent systems should be distributed, for autonomy of the individual agents and for scalability and improved tractability over centralized approaches.

Optimization-based techniques are suited to multiagent problems, in that such techniques can admit very general objectives. Receding horizon control is an optimization-based approach that is applicable when dynamics and constraints on the system are present. Several researchers have recently explored the use of receding horizon control to achieve multi-vehicle objectives. In most cases, the common objective is formulated, and the resulting control law implemented, in a centralized way.

This dissertation provides a distributed implementation of receding horizon control with guaranteed convergence and performance comparable to a centralized implementation. To begin with, agents are presumed to be individually governed by heterogeneous dynamics, modelled by a nonlinear ordinary differential equation. Coupling between agents occurs in a generic quadratic cost function of a single optimal control problem. The distributed implementation is generated by decomposition of the single optimal control problem into local problems, and the inclusion of local compatibility constraints in each local problem. The coordination requirements are globally synchronous timing and local information exchanges between neighboring agents. For sufficiently fast update times, the distributed implementation is proven to be asymptotically stabilizing. Extensions for handling inter-agent coupling constraints and partially synchronous timing are also explored. The venue of multi-vehicle formation stabilization demonstrates the efficacy of the implementation in numerical experiments. Given the generality of the receding horizon control mechanism, there is great potential for the implementation presented here in dynamic and constrained distributed systems.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:cooperative systems; decentralized control; distributed control; model predictive control; multi-vehicle coordination; multiagent systems; optimization-based control; receding horizon control
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Control and Dynamical Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Murray, Richard M.
Thesis Committee:
  • Murray, Richard M. (chair)
  • Hickey, Jason J.
  • Shamma, Jeff
  • Marsden, Jerrold E.
Defense Date:6 April 2004
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05282004-170123
Persistent URL:
Dunbar, William Bruce0000-0002-0913-318X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2198
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:01 Jun 2004
Last Modified:03 Feb 2021 20:11

Thesis Files

PDF (WBDdissertation.pdf) - Final Version
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