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Decision Making over Communication Networks

Mobile computing and wireless communications for vehicle information technology is a clearly emerging trend. A salient feature of these systems is the coupling of dynamic components, sensors, actuators and embedded control systems via the underlying communication network. Networked control systems are common in cars, aircrafts, chemical/nuclear plants and thus questions regarding their stability are of great practical importance. Vehicular communication networks are usually ad-hoc and highly dynamic, with potentially large number of interacting nodes . Fax and Murrayuse tools from algebraic graph theory to model the communication network of intercommunicating vehicles and to study formation stability. Liu et al. examine the robustness of existing vehicle platoon control laws with respect to communication delays. The behavior of such systems can be highly sensitive to latency of message propagation, and therefore it is necessary to design networks and protocols to minimize the influence of communication delays. In addition, analytical and numerical bounds on the performance of the protocols should be derived.
Because of the unpredictability of network traffic, the arrival time of signals can only be characterized by probability distribution. The main focus of this research will be to understand how the shape and parameters of the signal delay distribution influences stability of networked control systems (e.g. formations of intercommunicating vehicles). Computational methods will be developed to construct stability boundaries that will provide design guidance of protocols.
The theory of Random Dynamical Systems provides a natural framework for the analysis of networked control systems with random time delays. One area where the proposed research will have an immediate impact is the control of multiple cooperating vehicles in dynamic and uncertain environments.

PIs: Tamas Kalmar-Nagy





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