Distributed allocation of mobile sensing agents in geophysical flows

M. Ani Hsieh, Kenneth Mallory, Eric Forgoston, Ira B. Schwartz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We address the synthesis of distributed control policies to enable a homogeneous team of mobile sensing agents to maintain a desired spatial distribution in a geophysical flow environment. Geophysical flows are natural large-scale fluidic environments such as oceans, eddies, jets, and rivers. In this work, we assume the agents have a 'map' of the fluidic environment consisting of the locations of the Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS). LCS are time-dependent structures that divide the flow into dynamically distinct regions, and are time-dependent extensions of stable and unstable manifolds. Using this information, we design agent-level hybrid control policies that leverage the surrounding fluid dynamics and inherent environmental noise to enable the team to maintain a desired distribution in the workspace. We validate the proposed control strategy using flow fields given by: 1) an analytical time-varying wind-driven multi-gyre flow model, 2) actual flow data generated using our coherent structure experimental testbed, and 3) ocean data provided by the Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) database.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2014 American Control Conference, ACC 2014
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781479932726
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 American Control Conference, ACC 2014 - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: 4 Jun 20146 Jun 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Control Conference
ISSN (Print)0743-1619


Other2014 American Control Conference, ACC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPortland, OR


  • (Under)water vehicles
  • Autonomous systems
  • Cooperative control


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