Flocking with Target-Tracking using Novel Artificial Potentials in a Dynamic Environment

X. Xiang, G. Xu, Y. Guo, and Q. Zhang (PRC)


Flocking, artificial potential, target-tracking, autonomous underwater vehicle, and dynamic environment


The artificial potential method inspired by animal aggregation is widely used for mobile agents due to its practicability. However, most of the artificial potentials only concerning the relative positions between agents are just suitable for addressing the problem in a stationary environment. This paper presents novel artificial potentials for flocking of multiple autonomous vehicles with target-tracking in a dynamic environment where the velocity of target is time-varying. The new artificial potential functions take into account both the relative position and the relative velocity in a flock, which increase additional degrees of freedom to greatly enhance the performance of target-tracking in a dynamic environment. Accordingly, the coordinated control laws derived from virtual force which are defined as the negative gradient of the potentials with respect to the relative position and velocity are proposed, and the asymptotical stability in a flock is presented. Computer simulations have demonstrated effectiveness of the flocking with moving target based on the novel artificial potentials, compared with traditional potentials only taking into account the relative position of each agent in a flock.

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