Graph-Based Distributed Control for Multi-Robot Systems

In this project, we will focus on driving assistance by localized trajectory recommendations and warning signals to improve driver safety and overall traffic fluidity. These recommendations (e.g., suitable speed, suggested or not recommended lane change) for regular, but not dangerous, settings and warnings (e.g., vehicle in the blind angle, collision ahead) for potentially critical situations will be computed using both an embedded intelligent sensory system and collaboration through car-to-car communication with other vehicles. The intelligent vehicle will continuously gather information about the surrounding traffic context and driver behavior, generate an assessment of the situation, and react in an as transparent as possible way whilst leaving the ultimate decision to perform those suggestions to the driver. We will study the impact of having such a driving assistance system deployed on a more or less important fraction of the vehicles sharing a given road segment. We will consider and reproduce, in simulation, realistic traffic scenarios, including critical situations (e.g., stopped vehicle on a given lane, lane merging). We will provide a validation of our algorithmic and theoretical finding using Webots, a fast prototyping and simulation tool for mobile robotics lately adapted to realistically reproduce the dynamics of multiple Ackerman steering vehicles in combination with a dedicated plug-in of a realistic network simulator (OmNet++). Simulation calibration using real data and later on, deployment on a real car, will be possibly considered.

Team and Collaborators

Sponsors and Research Period



A Realistic Simulator for the Design and Evaluation of Intelligent Vehicles


The number of vehicles hitting the road each day is rapidly increasing, and several problems, such as traffic conges- tion or driver safety, can no longer be solved in the same fashion as before. Intelligent transportation systems could potentially solve part of these problems, but prototyping, designing and testing cooperative smart vehicles is a cumbersome task. This paper presents a realistic simulator where intelligent vehicles can be designed and analyzed with a pragmatic approach. A number of advances in robotics have already been transferred to vehicular technology, with a potential increase of this trend into the future. Here, we develop a plugin for a well-established robotics simulator (Webots), in order to reinforce at the virtual level this cross-fertilization between the two areas and create a baseline for realistic studies of future solutions in real intelligent vehicles.

This Webots plugin is available here.

Videos are here.



A Framework for Graph-Based Distributed Rendezvous of Nonholonomic Multi-Robot Systems

S. A. Gowal / A. Martinoli (Dir.)  

Lausanne, EPFL, 2013. 

Real-time Optimized Rendezvous on Nonholonomic Resource-Constrained Robots

S. Gowal; A. Martinoli 

2013. 13th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, Québec City, Canada, June 17-21, 2012. p. 353-368. DOI : 10.1007/978-3-319-00065-7_25.


Real-time Optimization of Trajectories that Guarantee the Rendezvous of Mobile Robots

S. Gowal; A. Martinoli 

2012. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal, October 7-12, 2012. p. 3518-3525. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2012.6385636.

A new collision warning system for lead vehicles in rear-end collisions

A. Cabrera; S. Gowal; A. Martinoli 

2012. IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV), Alcalá de Henares, Spain, June 3-7, 2012. p. 674-679. DOI : 10.1109/IVS.2012.6232244.


Bayesian Rendezvous for Distributed Robotic Systems

S. Gowal; A. Martinoli 

2011. IEEE/RSJ 2011 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, San Fransisco, CA, USA, September 25-30, 2011. p. 2765-2771. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2011.6094976.

Two-Phase Online Calibration for Infrared-based Inter-Robot Positioning Modules

S. Gowal; A. Prorok; A. Martinoli 

2011. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), San Fransisco, CA, USA, September 25-30, 2011. p. 3313-3319. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2011.6094979.


Local Graph-based Distributed Control for Safe Highway Platooning

S. Gowal; R. Falconi; A. Martinoli 

2010. IEEE/RSJ 2010 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Taipei, Taiwan, October 18-22, 2010. p. 6070-6076. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2010.5649318.

Graph based distributed control of non-holonomic vehicles endowed with local positioning information engaged in escorting missions

R. Falconi; S. Gowal; A. Martinoli 

2010. 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Anchorage, AK, USA, May 3-7, 2010. p. 3207-3214. DOI : 10.1109/ROBOT.2010.5509139.

A Realistic Simulator for the Design and Evaluation of Intelligent Vehicles

S. Gowal; Y. Zhang; A. Martinoli 

2010. 13th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Madeira, Portugal, September 19–22, 2010. DOI : 10.1109/ITSC.2010.5625010.


Graph-Based Distributed Control for Non-holonomic Vehicles Engaged in a Reconfiguration Task using Local Positioning Information

R. Falconi; S. Gowal; A. Martinoli 

2009. 2nd International Conference on Robot Communication and Coordination, Odense, March 31-April 2, 2009. p. 1-6. DOI : 10.4108/ICST.ROBOCOMM2009.5865.