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Robot Swarm Navigation Using Potential Functions and Panel Methods
Abdel-Razzak Merheb


In this seminar we present a practical swarm navigation algorithm based on potential functions and properties of inviscit incompressible flows. Panel methods are used to solve the flow equations around complex shaped obstacles and to generate the flowlines which provide collision-free paths through the obstacles to the goal position. Safe swarm navigation is achieved by following the generated streamlines. Potential functions are used to achieve and maintain group cohesion or a geometric formation during navigation. The algorithm is implemented and tested through numerical simulations as well as experimental implementations on real robots in a laboratory environment in two settings in which the solution of the flowlines is calculated either offline or online (i.e., in real time). The offline experiments are performed in a testbed with e-puck mini robots, whereas the real-time experiments are performed using Khepera III robots equipped with laser scanners. The algorithm is easy to implement and can serve as an effective tool for cohesive navigation of robotic swarms.


Potential functions, Autonomous navigation, Swarm systems, Panel method, Flowlines, Formation control


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