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MAgIC: Multi-Agent Intelligent Control of time-critical Cyber-Physical Systems over wireless


tl_files/utenti/lucaschenato/Projects/Magic/Figure_CPS_complexity_graphSMALL1.pngTV news and newspapers abound with articles talking about smart energy grids, smart drones, smart factories, etc. These types of systems where a number of collaborating computational elements control time-critical physical entities, are referred as Smart Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs). So far CPSs operators are still adopting XX century unscalable centralized control architectures and dedicated SCADA communication networks. We believe that a groundbreaking advancement in CPS can only happen with the development of autonomous distributed control over off-the-shelf Wi-Fi, a goal that nobody has yet achieved. This project aims at laying the foundation for pioneering architectures and algorithms, as well as a preliminary proof-of-concepts in the area of cooperative robotic manipulation over wireless, which is the CPS realm which requires the highest communication bandwidth according to the CPS challenge plane shown in the Figure. This project feature an interdisciplinary team with complementary expertise in Control, Communications, Robotics and Computer vision.



Principal Investigator:


Luca Schenato

Multi-agent Control Systems



tl_files/utenti/lucaschenato/Projects/Magic/angelocenedese.jpg tl_files/utenti/lucaschenato/Projects/Magic/simoneMilani.png tl_files/utenti/lucaschenato/Projects/Magic/federicoTramarin.jpg

Angelo Cenedese

UAVs Control

Stefano Ghidoni


Simone Milani

Computer Vision

Federico Tramarin

Industrial Communications

Roberto Oboe




Riccardo Antonello

Control Engineer

Giulia Michieletto


Enrica Rossi

Ph.D. Student

Francesco Branz


Matthias Pezzutto

Master Student

External associates:


Ruggero Carli

Control for robotics

Sfefano Vitturi

Industrial automation



WP1) control over wireless: future CPS will necessarily run over wireless to exploit ad-hoc and rapid connectivity, however the inherent unreliability of the communication (packet loss, random delay) poses a formidable challenge. Despite the past 15-year extensive research on the topic, little penetration has appeared in industrial control applications. We believe that this is mainly due to two aspects: the first is that steady-state error distributions are heavy-tail, i.e. large errors are not rare. The second aspect is that current design procedures do not properly model realistic wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi.  

WP2) communication for control : current communications standards (as Wi-Fi, Zigbee) were not designed for control applications. In fact, throughput is not particularly relevant in control systems while both packet loss and delay negatively impact their performance. The current trend is to create new standards (WirelessHART, ISA 100.10a) which reduce to bare minimum both packet loss and randomness in the delay, at the price of an increased delay and the use of dedicated HW. In this project we will pursue a different approach by exploring the possibility to dynamically control the parameters available in the current Wi-Fi standards to dynamically change the rate of communication.

WP3) cooperative robotics over wireless: Cooperative robotics is a well established research field but it has been mainly focused on exploration and mapping such as SLAM where bandwidths of 10Hz are typically sufficient. In the context of robotic manipulation, cooperation over wireless is a more pristine field since it requires a bandwidth of around 1000Hz, which is two orders of magnitude faster of what Wi-Fi can reliably provide today. We intend to tackle this problem by designing novel distributed cooperative controllers robust to packet losses, which we believe could provide almost the same performance at a smaller bandwidth of 100Hz, and by boosting Wi-Fi bandwidth to 100Hz still guaranteeing small packet loss probabilities (around 10%). In order to validate the effectiveness of the theoretical tools developed in WP1-3, we intend to implement some of the proposed algorithms into four

WP4) proof-of-concept experimental demos: mobile vehicles and robotic manipulators integrated with Wi-Fi capabilities and on-board cameras.






F. Branz, M. Pezzutto, R. Antonello, F. Tramarin, L. Schenato. Drive-by-Wi-Fi: taming 1kHz control applications over wireless. European Control Conference (ECC'19), [submitted]

M. Pezzutto, S. Dey, L. Schenato. Heavy-tails in Kalman filtering with packet losses. European Journal of Control [submitted]

M. Pezzutto, F. Tramarin, L. Schenato, S. Dey. SNR-triggered Communication Rate for LQG Control over Wi-Fi. IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC'18), 2018




Department of Information Engineering

University of Padova