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Post-Doc Positions Available


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PI: A. Pedro Aguiar

Funding Agency:

 FCT - Portugal

 1. Coordinated motion control of autonomous vehicles;
 2. Nonlinear control theory;
 3. Autonomous marine vehicles;
 4. Networked control systems.

  Oct. 2007 - Sep. 2010


Recently, spawned by the advent of small embedded processors and sensors, advanced communication systems, and the miniaturization of electro-mechanical devices, considerably effort is being placed on the deployment of groups of networked autonomous robotic vehicles operating in a number of challenging environments. Some of the potential applications include searching and surveying operations as well as exploration and mapping in hazardous environments.
The goal of this project is to develop, implement and test advanced robust control strategies for the coordination and cooperative motion a network of autonomous vehicles (NAV). The emphasis will be placed on the field of autonomous marine robots for two fundamental reasons: i) the highly nonlinear dynamics of marine vehicles pose formidable challenges to control system designers, and ii) autonomous marine vehicles are steadily becoming the tool par excellence to acquire scientific data at an unprecedented scale. However, the research done in the field of marine robots can certainly be adapted to land, air, and space vehicles.

The NAV-Control project combines two important and complementary components: fundamental research and applications. At a theoretical level, we propose to develop a set of control tools and algorithms that explicitly address the dynamics of the vehicles and the constraints imposed by the topology of the inter-vehicle communications network.  Obtaining formal proofs of robustness and stability of the control algorithms is a key objective. At practical level, one key objective of NAV-Control is to build an experimental platform consisting of several low-budget tiny autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) (or semi-submersible AUVs) with embedded computing and communication capabilities, allowing them to perform cooperative tasks in a test tank. The testbed will allow for the simulation of different communication topologies and failures, two of the key issues that must be addressed at a theoretical level. Another objective is to assure that the research is driven by the high-impact field of marine robotics. It is expected that the methodologies and techniques developed in NAV-Control will contribute to the development of important tools for ocean exploration and exploitation.