Decentralized multi-robot encirclement of a 3D target with guaranteed collision avoidance

Antonio Franchi*, Paolo Stegagno, Giuseppe Oriolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


We present a control framework for achieving encirclement of a target moving in 3D using a multi-robot system. Three variations of a basic control strategy are proposed for different versions of the encirclement problem, and their effectiveness is formally established. An extension ensuring maintenance of a safe inter-robot distance is also discussed. The proposed framework is fully decentralized and only requires local communication among robots; in particular, each robot locally estimates all the relevant global quantities. We validate the proposed strategy through simulations on kinematic point robots and quadrotor UAVs, as well as experiments on differential-drive wheeled mobile robots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-265
Number of pages21
JournalAutonomous Robots
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed robot systems
  • Encirclement
  • Entrapment
  • Escorting
  • Motion control
  • Multi-robot decentralized control


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