Semester of Graduation

Summer 2019

Degree

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Department

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

A multi-agent system can be defined as a coordinated network of mobile, physical agents that execute complex tasks beyond their individual capabilities. Observations of biological multi-agent systems in nature reveal that these ``super-organisms” accomplish large scale tasks by leveraging the inherent advantages of a coordinated group. With this in mind, such systems have the potential to positively impact a wide variety of engineering applications (e.g. surveillance, self-driving cars, and mobile sensor networks). The current state of research in the area of multi-agent systems is quickly evolving from the theoretical development of coordination control algorithms and their computer simulations to experimental validations on proof-of-concept testbeds using small-scale mobile robotic platforms. An in-house testbed would allow for rapid prototyping and validation of control algorithms, and potentially lead to new research directions spawned by experimentally-observed issues. To this end, a custom experimental testbed, TIGER Square, has been designed, developed, built, and tested at Louisiana State University.

In this work, the completed design and test results for a centralized testbed is presented. That is, the individual robots follow an overarching control entity and are reliant on a global structure, such as a central processing computer. As part of the validation process, a series of formation control experiments were executed to assess the performance of the testbed. In order to eliminate single-point failures, a multi-agent system must be fully decentralized or distributed. This means that the responsibilities of processing, localization, and communication are distributed to each agent. Therefore, this work concludes with the introduction of a prototype localization module that will be integrated into the existing centralized testbed. This initial step allows for the future decentralization of TIGER Square and opens the path to achieve a fully capable multi-agent system testbed.

Committee Chair

De Queiroz, Marcio

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