Qatar Funds Research to Coordinate Networked Vehicles
ITI researchers Petros Voulgaris and Dušan Stipanović recently received a 3-year grant from the Qatar National Research Fund to develop methods for safely coordinating networked vehicles. The overall grant is $950,000, with $320,000 commited to their research.
The recent revolution in information, wireless communication, and sensor technologies has led to new technology that enables multiple vehicles to interact cooperatively in an unknown environment. These networked vehicles can perform a variety of tasks, such as navigating in space, building maps of the environment, identifying hazards, and gathering information, without much human intervention. However, in order to successfully utilize this technology, it is necessary to safely coordinate the vehicles, so that they will not collide with static objects or each other.
The researchers will work on developing algorithms that will guarantee safety in the presence of physical, collision avoidance, and information constraints, and they will make the technology robust to communication uncertainty.
Safe and reliable multiple-vehicle systems can be applied in numerous ways to benefit the oil and gas industry, making this technology important to Qatar's growth in that industry. This technology can be used in patrol robots that sense dangerous leaks, such as H2S; coordinated fire extinguishing; coordinated oil spill cleaning; and field-coordinated surveillance.
The project, entitled Smart Systems for Field Monitoring and Surveillance, will be done in collaboration with Professor Mansour Karkoub at Texas A&M University in Qatar. "We are pretty much in charge of the research side of the grant, and the implementation will be done at Texas A&M Qatar," said Stipanović, a faculty member in industrial and enterprise systems engineering. Illinois researchers will focus on the methodologies and techniques, while Texas A&M Qatar will design and run the experiments.
Voulgaris, an aerospace engineering faculty member, said that this project is a "collaboration in a field that's new to us and can lead to further collaborations in bigger projects."
by Elise King, CSL Communications