Wintersemester 2022/2023

Collective Robotics


Collective robotics is a comparatively young field of research. Its predominant paradigm - decentral control - is inspired by biological systems such as social insects and bird flocks. These systems show complex patterns based on simple behaviors which constitutes the engineer's dream: a little effort creates a complex system. One of the main studies in swarm robotics is to find and establish a design methodology for decentral systems (how to design and how to program robot swarms). The challenge is to bridge the gap between the globally defined task and the locally restricted behavior of a particular robot. Following this path, it is essential to understand how swarms are organized which is achieved by diverse modeling techniques. 

In this lecture, fundamental concepts of collective robotics are introduced, such as decentralized control, self-organization, and scalability. We move on by investigating typical collective behaviors, such as aggregation, dispersion, goal searching, cooperative transport, and flocking. In order to find and understand the fundamental concepts that govern collective behaviors, swarms are modeled. A collection of modeling techniques is introduced, such as simulations, rate equations, and stochastic processes. Several key concepts to understand swarms are presented (microscopic vs. macroscopic level, fluctuations, local sampling). 

Subjects that are discussed in-depth include collective decisions and the implementation of adaptive aggregation. Collective decisions are a typical example of swarm intelligence. Based on local rules the overall system converges to a common consensus. It is also an example of inter-disciplinary research connecting computer science, engineering, physics, biology, and sociology. On the basis of an adaptive aggregation behavior we draw the connecting line from biological inspiration, to behavioral models, robot algorithms, the resulting collective behaviors, and possible design techniques.  


Dates and Locations

Lectures: Thursdays 16.00 - 17.30, von Neumann (in person )
Tutorials: every 2 weeks, 1st tutorial on Wed, Nov 2, 18.00-20.00, Cook/Carp

The lecture starts Thu, Oct 20, 2022, 16.00 (s.t.).


Swarm Robotics: A Formal Approach
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-74528-2