Distributed Control in Multi-Vehicle Systems
Paul A. Avery, Richard García
The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Mobile Autonomous Robotics Technology Initiative (MARTI) program has enabled the development of fully-autonomous passenger-sized commercial vehicles and military tactical vehicles, as well as the development of cooperative vehicle behaviors, such as cooperative sensor sharing and cooperative convoy operations. The program has also developed behaviors to interface intelligent vehicles with intelligent road-side devices. The development of intelligent vehicle behaviors cannot be approached as stand-alone phenomena; rather, they must be understood within a context of the broader traffic system dynamics. The study of other complex systems has shown that system-level behaviors emerge as a result of the spatio-temporal dynamics within a system’s constituent parts. The design of such systems must therefore account for both the system-level emergent behavior, as well as behaviors of individuals within the system. It has also become clear over the past several years, for both of these domains, that human trust in the behavior of individual vehicles is paramount to broader technology adoption. This paper examines the interplay between individual vehicle capabilities, vehicle connectivity, and emergent system behaviors, and presents some considerations for a distributed control paradigm in a multi-vehicle system.