Brief Research Overview  

A robot team made up of multiple robots is very attractive in that it can perform various tasks that a single robot cannot, or can perform them more effectively and flexibly. Due to this attractiveness, multi-robot systems comprise an active area of research. We focus on the design, planning, coordination, and control of multi-robot teams, and on research into and development of algorithms and systems so that multi-robots can be implemented and used more practically and effectively in dynamic and irregular real-world applications such as search and rescue and environmental monitoring. In particular, We have conducted considerable research on how to secure the scalability and stability of a multi-robot system through distributed control.

You can learn more about our current and past research on Multi-Robot Systems below.

Distributed Rendezvous and Formation Control (2017 - Present)

Description: We consider the rendezvous problem as robots exploring the unknown environment with minimum communication and arrive at the selected rendezvous location. The problem of rendezvous is ubiquitous in nature. Animals in migration are able to share information about food and water thus the whole group rendezvous at those locations. Human also have same issue as we need to meet specific people in specific place, which is applied still in multi-agent robotic systems. With emerging technologies such as localization, ubiquitous wireless communication, and advanced computation capability, enhanced rendezvous control shall bring wider application scenarios like intelligent warehouse and urban search and rescue. The purpose of this research is to develop a bounded distributed rendezvous control mechanism in cluttered environment. The robots within this environment have basically none knowledge of the environment, but can rendezvous at the destination while conquering the limitations such as communication being blocked by large obstacles, and path blocked by small obstacles, with proper decision making mechanism and obstacle avoidance algorithms. Meanwhile, the efficiency in rendezvous is also considered, we try to figure out robotic rendezvous control which not only handles communication unavailable occasions and obstacle avoidance, but also maintain an efficiency-prior trajectory.

Grants: NSF, Purdue University
People: Shaocheng Luo, Jun Han Bae, Ramviyas Parasuraman

Selected Publications:

  • Shaocheng Luo, Jonghoek Kim, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Asymptotic Boundary Shrink Control with Multirobot Systems", IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems, Vol.  52, No. 1, pp. 591-605, Jan. 2022. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Ramviyas Parasuraman, Jonghoek Kim, Shaocheng Luo, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Multi-Point Rendezvous in Multi-Robot Systems", IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, Vol. 50, Issue 1, pp. 310-323, Jan. 2020. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Shaocheng Luo, Jonghoek Kim, Ramviyas Parasuraman, Jun Han Bae, Eric T. Matson, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Multi-robot Rendezvous Based on Bearing-aided Hierarchical Tracking of Network Topology", Ad Hoc Networks, Vol. 86, pp. 131-143, April 2019. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Shaocheng Luo, Jun Han Bae, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Pivot-based Collective Coverage Control with a Multi-robot Team", 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (IEEE ROBIO 2018), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 12-15, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Ramviyas Parasuraman and Byung-Cheol Min, "Consensus Control of Distributed Robots Using Direction of Arrival of Wireless Signals", International Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems 2018 (DARS 2018), Boulder, CO, USA, Oct 15-17, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link, GitHub Link
Social Behavior in Multi-robot Systems (2017 - 21)


Description: Individuals can benefit in a social group by looking out for one another for support and survival. It is a proven phenomenon in nature and in this research our goal is to apply the same principles in a multi-robot system to improve robot survivability robustness.
   Traditionally, research on multi-robot systems has focused on developing application specific control algorithms while adapting individual robots in the group to operational environments and specific tasks without explicitly considering the advantages of being in a social group. However, given the unpredictable nature of various operational environments and autonomous mission requirements, designing individual robots that can take into account all possible scenarios is unfeasible, expensive and still lack robustness in survivability. In contrast, we believe introducing a social group aspect to the multi-robot system may provide a unique and robust way of dealing with such cases.
   For our initial work, social behavioral inspiration was taken from the Huddling behavior of Emperor Penguins in the Antarctic where they share body heat and take turns being in the huddle centers to survive conditions as severe as Antarctic winters as a group.
   Potential research on the topic include energy sharing between heterogeneous robotic agents, application of machine learning techniques for distributed position shuffling within the group to survive damaging external stimuli, distributed control techniques for cooperative object transportation specifically focusing on minimal individual health loss for long term survival of the multi-robot system.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Tamzidul Mina, Shyam Sundar Kannan, Wonse Jo, Jee Hwan park

Selected Publications:

  • Tamzidul Mina, Yogang Singh, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Maneuvering Ability-Based Weighted Potential Field Framework for Multi-USV Navigation, Guidance and Control", Marine Technology Society Journal, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 40-58, 2020. Paper Link
  • Tamzidul Mina, Maliha Hossain, Jee Hwan Park, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Efficient Resource Distribution by Adaptive Inter-agent Spacing in Multi-agent Systems", 2019 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC), Bari, Italy, 6-9 October, 2019. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Tamzidul Mina and Byung-Cheol Min, "Penguin Huddling Inspired Distributed Boundary Movement for Group Survival in Multi-robot Systems using Gaussian Processes", 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (IEEE ROBIO 2018), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 12-15, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Tamzidul Mina and Byung-Cheol Min, "Penguin Huddling-inspired Energy Sharing and Formation Movement in Multi-robot Systems", 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR), Philadelphia, PA, USA, August 6-8, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link
Reliability and Safety of Autonomous Multi-Agent Systems (2017 - 21)

Description: Today's autonomous cars, otherwise known as driverless vehicles or self-driving cars, enable the deployment of safety technologies, such as collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and Vehicle-to-Vehicle technologies. In the near future, these systems in all vehicles will help to achieve zero fatalities, zero injuries, and zero accidents. However, behind the potential of these innovations, there is new challenge on autonomous cars that still need to address: cybersecurity.
   As the first step, we propose an attack-aware multi-sensor integration algorithm for the navigation system. A Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI) scheme is adopted for the detection of cyberattacks on navigation systems. Particularly, a discrete Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) is employed to construct robust residuals in the presence of noise. The proposed method uses a parametric statistical tool for detecting attacks based on the residuals in properties of discrete time signals and dynamic systems. It is based on a measurement history rather than a single measurement at a time. These approaches enable the proposed multi-sensor integration algorithm to generate a quick detection and low false alarms rate that are suitable to the applications of dynamic systems. Finally, as a case study, INS/GNSS integration for autonomous vehicle navigation systems is considered and tested with software-in-the-loop simulation (SILS).
   In addition, we consider attack detection algorithms autonomous multi-vehicle systems with imperfect information. This research addresses how a locally controlled autonomous agent can be identified by other agents if it has been compromised and how to make decisions with the ultimate goal of recovering system functionality and safety.

Grants: NIJ
People: Sangjun Lee, Yongbum Cho

Selected Publications:

  • Sangjun Lee and Byung-Cheol Min, "Distributed Control of Multi-Robot Systems in the Presence of Deception and Denial of Service Attacks", arXiv preprint, arXiv:2102.00098, 2021. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Sangjun Lee and Byung-Cheol Min, "Distributed Direction of Arrival Estimation-aided Cyberattack Detection in Networked Multi-Robot Systems", 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2018), Madrid, Spain, October 1-5, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Sangjun Lee, Yongbum Cho, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Attack-aware Multi-sensor Integration Algorithm for Autonomous Vehicle Navigation Systems", 2017 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC), Banff, Canada, 5-8 October, 2017. Paper Link, Video Link
A Directional Antenna-based Leader-follower Robotic Convoy System (2013 - 18)

Description: In this research, we present a directional antenna-based leader-follower robotic relay system capable of building end-to-end communication in complicated and dynamically changing environments. The proposed system consists of multiple networked robots - one is a mobile end node and the others are leaders or followers acting as radio relays. Every follower uses directional antennas to relay a communication radio and to estimate the location of the leader robot as a sensory device. For bearing estimation, we employ a weight centroid algorithm (WCA) and present a theoretical analysis of the use of WCA for this work. Using a robotic convoy method, we develop online, distributed control strategies that satisfy the scalability requirements of robotic network systems and enable cooperating robots to work independently. The performance of the proposed system is evaluated by conducting extensive real-world experiments that successfully build actual communication between two end nodes.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Sangjun Lee, Ramviyas Parasuraman

Selected Publications:

  • Byung-Cheol Min, Ramviyas Parasuraman, Sangjun Lee, Jin-Woo Jung, and Eric T. Matson, "A Directional Antenna based Leader-Follower Relay System for End-to-End Robot Communications", Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Vol. 101, pp. 57-73, March 2018. Paper Link, Video Link 1, Video Link II
  • Byung-Cheol Min, Eric T. Matson, and Jin-Woo Jung, “Active Antenna Tracking System with Directional Antennas for Enhancing Wireless Communication Capabilities of a Networked Robotic System", Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. 33, Issue 3, pp. 391-406, May 2016. Paper Link
  • Byung-Cheol Min, Yongho Kim, Sangjun Lee, Jin-Woo Jung, and Eric T. Matson, “Finding the Optimal Location and Allocation of Relay Robots for Building a Rapid End-to-end Wireless Communication", Ad Hoc Networks, Vol. 39, Issue 15, pp. 23-44, March 2016. Paper Link, Video Link I, Video Link II
Establishment of End-to-End Wireless Network with Mobile Robots (2013 - 16)

Description: In this research we tackle the fundamental problem of finding the optimal location and allocation of mobile robots in an application of the establishment of an immediate end-to-end communication. Often this is called the multi-robot deployment problem in networked robotics. To this end, we formulate an end-to-end communication problem, in a general optimization form, with constraints that consider the operation of robots and the types of antennas. Additionally, constraints on the propagation of radio signals and infeasible locations of robots within physical obstacles are also taken into consideration for a dense space. To solve the optimization problem we explore the use of evolutionary optimization techniques such as Genetic Algorithm (GA) and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO).

Grants: Purdue University
People: Sangjun Lee

Selected Publications:

  • Byung-Cheol Min, Yongho Kim, Sangjun Lee, Jin-Woo Jung, and Eric T. Matson, “Finding the Optimal Location and Allocation of Relay Robots for Building a Rapid End-to-end Wireless Communication", Ad Hoc Networks, Vol. 39, Issue 15, pp. 23-44, March 2016. Paper Link, Video Link I, Video Link II