As the scale and complexity of multi-agent robotic systems are subject to a continuous increase, this paper considers a class of systems labeled as Very-Large-Scale Multi-Agent Systems (VLMAS) with dimensionality that can scale up to the order of millions of agents. In particular, we consider the problem of steering the state distributions of all agents of a VLMAS to prescribed target distributions while satisfying probabilistic safety guarantees. Based on the key assumption that such systems often admit a multi-level hierarchical clustered structure - where the agents are organized into cliques of different levels - we associate the control of such cliques with the control of distributions, and introduce the Distributed Hierarchical Distribution Control (DHDC) framework. The proposed approach consists of two sub-frameworks. The first one, Distributed Hierarchical Distribution Estimation (DHDE), is a bottom-up hierarchical decentralized algorithm which links the initial and target configurations of the cliques of all levels with suitable Gaussian distributions. The second part, Distributed Hierarchical Distribution Steering (DHDS), is a top-down hierarchical distributed method that steers the distributions of all cliques and agents from the initial to the targets ones assigned by DHDE. Simulation results that scale up to two million agents demonstrate the effectiveness and scalability of the proposed framework. The increased computational efficiency and safety performance of DHDC against related methods is also illustrated. The results of this work indicate the importance of hierarchical distribution control approaches towards achieving safe and scalable solutions for the control of VLMAS. A video with all results is available in https://youtu.be/0QPyR4bD2q0 .
- Pub Date:
- May 2023
- Computer Science - Robotics;
- Computer Science - Multiagent Systems;
- Electrical Engineering and Systems Science - Systems and Control
- Accepted at Robotics: Science and Systems 2023