Decentralized Estimation and Control of Graph Connectivity in Mobile Sensor Networks
The ability of a robot team to reconfigure itself is useful in many applications: for metamorphic robots to change shape, for swarm motion towards a goal, for biological systems to avoid predators, or for mobile buoys to clean up oil spills. In many situations, auxiliary constraints, such as connectivity between team members and limits on the maximum hop-count, must be satisfied during reconfiguration. In this paper, we show that both the estimation and control of the graph connectivity can be accomplished in a decentralized manner. We describe a decentralized estimation procedure that allows each agent to track the algebraic connectivity of a time-varying graph. Based on this estimator, we further propose a decentralized gradient controller for each agent to maintain global connectivity during motion.