Formation control and collision avoidance for multi-agent non-holonomic systems: Theory and experiments

Silvia Mastellone, Dušan M. Stipanović, Christopher R. Graunke, Koji A. Intlekofer, Mark W. Spong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we present a theoretical and experimental result on the control of multi-agent non-holonomic systems. We design and implement a novel decentralized control scheme that achieves dynamic formation control and collision avoidance for a group of non-holonomic robots. First, we derive a feedback law using Lyapunov-type analysis that guarantees collision avoidance and tracking of a reference trajectory for a single robot. Then we extend this result to the case of multiple non-holonomic robots, and show how different multi-agent problems, such as formation control and leader-follower control, can be addressed in this framework. Finally, we combine the above results to address the problem of coordinated tracking for a group of agents. We give extensive experimental results that validate the effectiveness of our results in all three cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-126
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Autonomous agents
  • Collision avoidance
  • Control of non-holonomic systems
  • Distributed robot systems
  • Formation control
  • Wheeled robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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