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Enforce Barrier Certificate Constraints for Collision-Free Robots

This example shows how to enforce barrier certificate constraints for collision-free robots using the Barrier Certificate Enforcement block.


In this example, the goal for the robots is to reach a target position without colliding with each other [1]. The robot dynamics are modeled by double integrators in the x-y plane. Each robot has four states (x-position, y-position, x-velocity, and y-velocity) and two control variables (x-acceleration and y-acceleration). The velocities are constrained to [-2, 2] m/s and the accelerations are constrained to [-10, 10] m/s^2. The PID controllers are designed for the robots to reach the target position. Collision avoidance is achieved by enforcing barrier certificate constraints.

Open the Simulink® model.

mdl = 'twoRobotsCBF';

Controller Design

Each robot has its own controller that brings it to the target position. In this example, the controller is implemented as a PID-type controller.

Run the simulation and view the results.

constrained = 0;

In the figure, robot 1 (green) reaches the target position [4.9, 4.8] m and robot 2 reaches the target position [0, 0] m. The controllers successfully bring the controlled robots to their target positions.

Open the distance scope in the Two robots > visualization subsystem. The two robots collide with each other at around 1.3 seconds.

Barrier Certificate Constraints

For collision avoidance, the constraint is that the distance between two robots i and j stay greater than a given threshold if the two robots are moving closer to each other [1]. The barrier certificate is given by


Here, the variables are:

  • The maximum braking power from both robots — αsum=20

  • The minimum distance between the robots — Ds=0.7

  • The position error vector — pij=pi-pj

  • The velocity error vector — vij=vi-vj

The partial derivative of h(x) over states x=[pi,pj,vi,vj]T is denoted by q(x), and the analytical results are given in the barrierGradFcn2Robots script.

The Barrier Certificate Enforcement block accepts the dynamics in the form x˙=f(x)+g(x)u. For this example,

f(x)=[00I0000I00000000]x and g(x)=[0000I00I],

and each element is a 2-by-2 matrix.

Simulate Collision-Free Controller with Barrier Certificate Constraint

To view the constraint implementation, open the Constraint > Constrained subsystem.

constrained = 1;

Close the figure before running the model.

f = findobj('Name','Two robots');

Run the model and view the simulation results. The two robots avoid each other when they are too close.


The distance between the two robots stays above the threshold Ds=0.7.

The Barrier Certificate Enforcement block successfully constrains the control actions such that the two robots reach their target positions in a collision-free manner.

f = findobj('Name','Two robots');


[1] Wang, Li, Aaron D. Ames, and Magnus Egerstedt. “Safety Barrier Certificates for Collisions-Free Multirobot Systems.” IEEE Transactions on Robotics 33, no. 3 (June 2017): 661–74.

See Also

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