Controlling many differential-drive robots with uniform control inputs

Aaron Becker, Cem Onyuksel, Timothy Bretl, James McLurkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper derives both open-loop and closed-loop control policies that steer a finite set of differential-drive robots to desired positions in a two-dimensional workspace, when all robots receive the same control inputs but each robot turns at a slightly different rate. In the absence of perturbation, the open-loop policy achieves zero error in finite time. In the presence of perturbation, the closed-loop policy is globally asymptotically stabilizing with state feedback. Both policies were validated with hardware experiments using up to 15 robots. These experimental results suggest that similar policies might be applied to control micro- and nanoscale robotic systems, which are often subject to similar constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1626-1644
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 11 2014


  • Ensemble control
  • micro/nano robots
  • multi-agent control
  • nonholonomic motion planning
  • path planning for multiple mobile robot systems
  • telerobotics
  • underactuated robots
  • uniform inputs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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