Mobile robotic network deployment for intruder detection and tracking

Zou, Rui
Major Professor
Sourabh Bhattacharya
Committee Member
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Mechanical Engineering
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Mechanical Engineering

This thesis investigates the problem of intruder detection and tracking using mobile robotic networks. In the first part of the thesis, we consider the problem of seeking an electromagnetic source using a team of robots that measure the local intensity of the emitted signal. We propose a planner for a team of robots based on Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) which is a population based stochastic optimization technique. An equivalence is established between particles generated in the traditional PSO technique, and the mobile agents in the swarm. Since the positions of the robots are updated using the PSO algorithm, modifications are required to implement the PSO algorithm on real robots to incorporate collision avoidance strategies. The modifications necessary to implement PSO on mobile robots, and strategies to adapt to real environments are presented in this thesis. Our results are also validated on an experimental testbed.

In the second part, we present a game theoretic framework for visibility-based target tracking in multi-robot teams. A team of observers (pursuers) and a team of targets (evaders) are present in an environment with obstacles. The objective of the team of observers is to track the team of targets for the maximum possible time. While the objective of the team of targets is to escape (break line-of-sight) in the minimum time. We decompose the problem into two layers. At the upper level, each pursuer is allocated to an evader through a minimum cost allocation strategy based on the risk of each evader, thereby, decomposing the agents into multiple single pursuer-single evader pairs. Two decentralized allocation strategies are proposed and implemented in this thesis. At the lower level, each pursuer computes its strategy based on the results of the single pursuer-single evader target-tracking problem. We initially address this problem in an environment containing a semi-infinite obstacle with one corner. The pursuer's optimal tracking strategy is obtained regardless of the evader's strategy using techniques from optimal control theory and differential games. Next, we extend the result to an environment containing multiple polygonal obstacles. We construct a pursuit field to provide a guiding vector for the pursuer which is a weighted sum of several component vectors. The performance of different combinations of component vectors is investigated. Finally, we extend our work to address the case when the obstacles are not polygonal, and the observers have constraints in motion.