Swarm of Robots in Dynamic Environments

Since several years, we study the impact of dynamic environments (e.g., flow, wind) on robot swarms. This is actually a very important aspect, if we consider small scale (so called micro scale) robots which we have in our SwarmLab. Our flying robots are as large as an A4 paper and they are easily influenced by the wind in the back yard (where we do the outdoor experiments) or by themselves (since they fly in a swarm, they produce a lot of flow).

We have several works on this topic. The recent paper from 2020 is about various communication topologies. Here is the abstract of the paper and some interesting videos: 

  • Palina Bartashevich, Doreen Koerte and Sanaz Mostaghim
  • Impact of Communication Topology on PSO-based Swarms in Vector Fields
  • Accepted at the IEEE Symposium on Swarm Intelligence (SIS), SSCI, Australia, 2020


This paper studies the role of communication topologies in swarms performing the search under strong negative influence coming from the unknown external environment af- fecting the individuals’ movements. The experiments are carried out on two modified versions of PSO, namely Power- and Zigzag-PSO, which act without any preliminary information about external forces modeled by vector fields. We propose four dynamic topologies inspired by the game-theoretic concepts and investigate their performance relative to the ordinarily static ones with regard to convergence and “energy expenses”, reflecting the amount of collective effort needed to eliminate the produced drift. The results reveal that the topology of social connections on its own is not an effective way to cope with the unknown disturbance during the search. However, within the predefined coping mechanism against the disturbance as in the case of Zigzag-PSO, the considered dynamic topologies show the advantage before static ones for a limited communication radius, indicating its potential in swarm robotics applications.

Note in all of the videos, the swarm is performing a collective search to find a Point of Interest located at (-10,10). The Vector Fields (VF) show the different profiles. Radius refers to the communication radius.  








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