Dynamics of Multi-Agent Systems with Bio-Inspired Active and Passive Sensing

dc.contributor.authorJahromi Shirazi, Masouden
dc.contributor.committeechairAbaid, Nicoleen
dc.contributor.committeememberRoss, Shane D.en
dc.contributor.committeememberCramer, Mark S.en
dc.contributor.committeememberTarazaga, Pablo Albertoen
dc.contributor.committeememberLeonessa, Alexanderen
dc.contributor.departmentEngineering Science and Mechanicsen
dc.description.abstractActive sensors, such as radar, lidar and sonar, emit a signal into the environment and gather information from its reflection. In contrast, passive sensors such as cameras and microphones rely on the signals emitted from the environment. In the current application of active sensors in multi-agent autonomous systems, agents only rely on their own active sensing and filter out any information available passively. However, fusing passive and active sensing information may improve the accuracy of the agents. Also, there is evidence that bats who use biosonar eavesdrop on a conspecific's echolocation sound, which shows a successful example of implementing active and passive sonar sensor fusion in nature. We studied the effect of such information fusion in the framework of two problems: the collective behavior in a multi-agent system using the Vicsek model and the canonical robotics problem of Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM). Collective behavior refers to emergence of a complex behavior in a group of individuals through local interaction. The Vicsek model is a well-established flocking model based on alignment of individuals with their neighbors in the presence of noise. We studied the aligned motion in a group in which the agents employ both active and passive sensing. Our study shows that the group behavior is less sensitive to measurement accuracy compared to modeling precision. Therefore, using measurement values of the noisier passive sonar can be beneficial. In addition, the group alignment is improved when the passive measurements are not dramatically noisier than active measurements. In the SLAM problem, a robot scans an unknown environment building a map and simultaneously localizing itself within that map. We studied a landmark-based SLAM problem in which the robot uses active and passive sensing strategies. The information provided passively can improve the accuracy of the active sensing measurements and compensate for its blind spot. We developed an estimation algorithm using Extended Kalman Filter and employed Monte Carlo simulation to find a parameter region in which fusing passive and active sonar information improves the performance of the robot. Our analysis shows this region is aligned within the common range of active sonar parameters.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralGroup behavior is a fascinating phenomenon in animal groups such as bird flocks, fish schools, bee colonies and fireflies. For instance, many species of fireflies synchronize their flashing when they bio-luminesce. This synchronization pattern is a group behavior created as a result of local interaction formed by sensing individuals in the group. The research question for this dissertation is inspired by comes from group behavior in bats. Bats use echolocation to perceive the environment. They make a sound and listen to the echo of the sound coming back from objects and by analyzing the echo, they can get information about their surroundings. It has been observed that bats may also use the echo of other bats' sound to perceive their environment. In other words they use two different sensors, one is called active sonar since they actively make the sound and listen to its echoes, and the other one is called passive sonar since they just passively listen to the sound generated by other bats. If this information is useful, can we exploit that in design of engineered systems? We investigated these questions using numerical simulation to solve two test bed problems. The first problem is based on a mathematical flocking model in which the individuals in the group align through local interaction. We found out that eavesdropping improves the alignment of the group within a range of parameters in the model which are relevant to the sensing capabilities of the sonar sensors. The other problem is a canonical robotics problem known as the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). In this problem, a robot searches an unknown environment and creates a map of the environment (mapping) and reports the path it takes within the map (localization). We found out that when the robot uses both passive and active sonar, depending on the accuracy of the two sensing approaches, it can improve the accuracy of both the generated map and the robot's path.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectAgent-based modelingen
dc.subjectBio-inspired sensingen
dc.subjectSimultaneous localization and mappingen
dc.titleDynamics of Multi-Agent Systems with Bio-Inspired Active and Passive Sensingen
thesis.degree.disciplineEngineering Mechanicsen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen
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