Towards 3-D Distributed Odor Source Localization: An Extended Graph-Based Formation Control Algorithm for Plume Tracking
The large number of potential applications for robotic odor source localization has motivated the development of a variety of plume tracking algorithms, the majority of which work in restricted two-dimensional scenarios. In this paper, we introduce a distributed algorithm for 3-D plume tracking using a system of ground and aerial robots in formation. We propose an algorithm that takes advantage of spatially distributed measurements to track the plume in 3-D and lead the robots to the source by integrating three behaviors -- upwind movement, plume centering, and Laplacian feedback formation control. We evaluate this strategy in simulation and with real robots in a wind tunnel. For a source close to the ground, results show that a team of robots running our algorithm reaches the source with low lateral error while also tracing the horizontal and vertical plume shape.