Multi-agent coordination by decentralized estimation and control

Peng Yang*, Randy A. Freeman, Kevin M. Lynch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

278 Scopus citations


We describe a framework for the design of collective behaviors for groups of identical mobile agents. The approach is based on decentralized simultaneous estimation and control, where each agent communicates with neighbors and estimates the global performance properties of the swarm needed to make a local control decision. Challenges of the approach include designing a control law with desired convergence properties, assuming each agent has perfect global knowledge; designing an estimator that allows each agent to make correct estimates of the global properties needed to implement the controller; and possibly modifying the controller to recover desired convergence properties when using the estimates of global performance. We apply this framework to the problem of controlling the moment statistics describing the location and shape of a swarm. We derive conditions which guarantee that the formation statistics are driven to desired values, even in the presence of a changing network topology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2480-2496
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008


  • Decentralized control
  • Distributed control
  • Dynamic average consensus estimation
  • Formation control
  • Multi-agent systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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