Jorge Cortés


Matemáticas, Control y Robótica
S. Martínez and J. Cortés
Matemáticas en la Frontera, ed. M. de León, J. L. González, L. A. Ibort, and E. Zuazua, Comunidad de Madrid, Consejería de Educación, 2007, pp. 116-123


In the near future, new generations of robots and autonomous vehicles will play a fundamental role in scientific and commercial applications of great social impact. Some of their uses include distributed monitoring and surveying (e.g., crop monitoring and management), rapid deployment in disaster relief and situation awareness operations, environmental monitoring (e.g., study of oceanographic and atmospheric interactions), health monitoring of civil infrastructure (bridges, buildings, oil pipes, etc); and distant planet image generation (e.g., mobile satellites equipped with interferometers). In these contexts, coordinated, sensor-equipped vehicles will carry out a variety of search and rescue, data gathering and fusion, detection and estimation tasks. The complexity of these multi-robot systems presents new challenges that lie at the confluence of communication, computation and control. Although technology provides the physical components to build such sensor networks, the potential benefits of such systems have not been realized yet. As of today, there is a lack of understanding on how to coordinate and assemble the individual devices together. In other words, there are not systematic methodologies that allow to control large-scale distributed systems like these. As a consequence, there is a great necessity to expand the currently available set of tools and paradigms to design and manage these systems in an efficient manner. In particular, it is envisioned that new substantial contributions will be made from the Mathematical Sciences. In this article we enumerate some of the challenges that are associated with robotic systems of this nature.

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