COVEN stands for COoperative VEhicle Networks (click here to see the original meaning of coven – a group of witches). COVEN Lab was motivated by the increasing demand for networked autonomous vehicles or robots. We work on both theory and applications in distributed coordination and control of multiple autonomous vehicles or robots, where collective group behavior is achieved through local interaction. We design and analyze distributed algorithms for networked autonomous vehicles or robots such that they can work together as a team to accomplish certain objectives.
Increased computational resources enable the development of autonomous vehicles or robots that have the capability to significantly improve the operational effectiveness of numerous applications. While autonomous vehicles or robots increase computational resources that perform solo missions can yield significant benefits, greater efficiency and operational capability can be realized from teams of autonomous vehicles or robots operating in a coordinated fashion. Potential applications for multi-vehicle or multi-robot systems include space-based interferometers, surveillance and reconnaissance, hazardous material handling, and distributed reconfigurable sensor networks. For all of these applications, communication bandwidth and power constraints will preclude centralized command and control. Our lab is particularly interested in distributed control, distributed estimation, and distributed optimization subject to local information and local interaction.