Distributed Allocation of Mobile Sensing Swarms in Gyre Flows

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We address the synthesis of distributed control policies to enable a swarm of homogeneous mobile sensors to maintain a desired spatial distribution in a geophysical flow environment, or workspace. In this article, we assume the mobile sensors (or robots) have a "map" of the environment denoting the locations of the Lagrangian coherent structures or LCS boundaries. Using this information, we design agent-level hybrid control policies that leverage the surrounding fluid dynamics and inherent environmental noise to enable the team to maintain a desired distribution in the workspace. We discuss the stability properties of the ensemble dynamics of the distributed control policies. Since realistic quasi-geostrophic ocean models predict double-gyre flow solutions, we use a wind-driven multi-gyre flow model to verify the feasibility of the proposed distributed control strategy and compare the proposed control strategy with a baseline deterministic allocation strategy. Lastly, we validate the control strategy using actual flow data obtained by our coherent structure experimental testbed.



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