Brief Research Overview  

A team of multiple robots is very appealing because it can perform various tasks that a single robot cannot, or can perform them more effectively and flexibly. This makes multi-robot systems an active area of research. Our focus is on the design, planning, coordination, and control of multi-robot teams, and on developing algorithms and systems that can be used more effectively and practically in dynamic and irregular real-world applications such as search and rescue and environmental monitoring. In particular, we have conducted significant research on how to achieve scalability and stability in 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 study the problem of rendezvous, in which robots explore an unknown environment with minimal communication and arrive at a predetermined location. The problem of rendezvous is common in nature, as animals in migration share information about food and water and then rendezvous at those locations. Humans also face similar issues when we need to meet specific people at specific places, which also applies to multi-agent robotic systems. With the development of technologies such as localization, ubiquitous wireless communication, and advanced computation capabilities, enhanced rendezvous control has the potential to be applied in a wider range of scenarios, such as intelligent warehouses and urban search and rescue. Our research aims to develop a bounded, distributed rendezvous control mechanism in cluttered environments. The robots in this environment have little knowledge of the environment but can rendezvous at the destination while overcoming challenges such as communication being blocked by large obstacles and paths being blocked by small obstacles, using proper decision-making mechanisms and obstacle avoidance algorithms. We also aim to find a robotic rendezvous control solution that not only handles communication unavailable situations and obstacle avoidance, but also maintains 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 supporting and helping each other for survival. This is a well-known phenomenon in nature, and in this research, our goal is to apply the same principles in a multi-robot system to improve the robustness and survivability of the robots.
   Traditionally, research on multi-robot systems has focused on developing application-specific control algorithms that adapt individual robots to operational environments and specific tasks, without considering the benefits of being in a social group. However, given the unpredictable nature of various operational environments and autonomous mission requirements, it is impractical, expensive, and still lacks robustness in survivability to design individual robots that can handle all possible scenarios. In contrast, we believe that 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, we drew inspiration from the huddling behavior of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, where they share body heat and take turns being in the huddle centers to survive the harsh conditions of the Antarctic winters as a group.
   Potential research on this topic includes energy sharing between heterogeneous robotic agents, the use of machine learning techniques for distributed position shuffling within the group to survive damaging external stimuli, and distributed control techniques for cooperative object transportation, with a focus on minimizing individual health loss for the 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: Autonomous cars, also known as driverless vehicles or self-driving cars, can deploy safety technologies such as collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and Vehicle-to-Vehicle technologies. In the future, these systems in all vehicles have the potential to achieve zero fatalities, zero injuries, and zero accidents. However, there is a new challenge that needs to be addressed in the realm of autonomous cars: cybersecurity.
   As a first step, we propose an attack-aware multi-sensor integration algorithm for the navigation system of autonomous cars. We adopt a Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI) scheme for detecting cyberattacks on navigation systems. Specifically, we use a discrete Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) to construct robust residuals in the presence of noise. Our proposed method uses a parametric statistical tool for detecting attacks based on the residuals and their properties in discrete time signals and dynamic systems. It is based on a measurement history, rather than a single measurement at a time. These approaches enable our proposed multi-sensor integration algorithm to generate quick detection and low false alarms rates that are suitable for the applications of dynamic systems. As a case study, we consider INS/GNSS integration for autonomous vehicle navigation systems and test it with software-in-the-loop simulation (SILS).
   In addition, we consider attack detection algorithms for 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 that can establish end-to-end communication in complicated and dynamically changing environments. The system consists of multiple networked robots, one of which is a mobile end node and the others are leaders or followers that act as radio relays. Each 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 use a weight centroid algorithm (WCA) and provide a theoretical analysis of its use in this work. We also develop online, distributed control strategies using a robotic convoy method that meet the scalability requirements of robotic network systems and allow cooperating robots to work independently. We evaluate the performance of the proposed system through extensive real-world experiments that successfully establish 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 address the fundamental problem of finding the optimal location and allocation of mobile robots to establish immediate end-to-end communication, a problem known as the multi-robot deployment problem in networked robotics. To do this, we formulate an end-to-end communication problem in a general optimization form with constraints that consider the operation of the robots and the types of antennas. We also consider constraints on the propagation of radio signals and the locations of robots that are not feasible due to physical obstacles in a dense space. To solve the optimization problem, we investigate the use of evolutionary optimization techniques such as Genetic Algorithms (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