Summary: Abstract- A key problem in cooperative robotics is
the maintenance of a geometric configuration during
movement. To address this problem, the concept of a
virtual structure is introduced. Control methods are
developed to force an ensemble of robots to behave as if
they were particles embedded in a rigid structure. The
method was tested both using simulation and experi-
mentation with a set of 3 robots. Results are presented
which demonstrate that this approach is capable of
achieving high precision movement which is fault toler-
ant and exhibits graceful degradation of performance.
In addition, this algorithm does not require leader
selection as in other cooperative robotic strategies.
Finally, the method is highly flexible in the kinds of geo-
metric formations that can be maintained.
One of the most important and fundamental prob-
lems in cooperative robotic systems is that of coordi-
nated motion control. One kind of coordinated motion
control involves the maintenance of a geometric config-