Swarm robotics

The research of swarms in Multi-robot Systems group aims to integrate principles and theoretical background of swarm behaviours with methodology/theory describing cooperative localization of autonomous robots and principles of self-organizing adaptation leading to a flexible stand-alone system. It will enable applicability of swarm robotics in realistic outdoor scenarios of surveillance and reconnaissance. Basically, we develop principles of a decentralized relative localization of neighboring particles that are integrated to swarm behaviors with an aim to keep reciprocal visibility between neighbors. This enables to employ swarms of Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) outside laboratories equipped by a precise positioning system.

Besides, a concept of adaptively evolving swarm behaviors is established to decrease relative localization uncertainty. To enable multi-robot applications, theoretical principles of determining desired shapes of MAV swarms are designed based on bio-inspired methods of artificial intelligence, namely Particle Swarm Optimization and Boids models. Finally, decentralized collective decision making mechanisms are established with a theory identifying necessary assumptions of the switching between different swarm behaviors. This research is aimed at a study of observed autonomous behaviors of MAV swarms. The research conducted in this stream is closely coordinated with research of multi robot systems being also realised within Multi-robot Systems group. Our state-of-the-art approaches in research of swarm robotics and description of developed methods can be found in papers chronologically listed below.


Examples

Decentralized self-organizing swarming of UAVs based on extended Boids model.

The video demonstrates a system proposed for stabilization of a swarm of unmanned and fully autonomous helicopters, using an expanded swarming model Boids. Its main focus lies in a proposal of robust and decentralized swarming behavior suited for complex environments with high density of obstacles, and its relatively straightforward integration to a swarm of real helicopters. Corresponding constraints of multi-robot systems working in real time had to be considered. The capability of the swarm of unmanned helicopters to cluster and navigate in complex environments was verified in various simulations and real experiments.

Coherent swarming of UAVs with minimum computational and communication requirements.

The presented algorithm enables a swarm of MAVs to maintain its coherence and perform compact motion in complex environments while avoiding obstacles in a decentralized way. Feasible and collision free control inputs are computed onboard of each vehicle using only limited sensory information without any requirement for external infrastructure, such as global navigation systems. The proposed method robustly manages to incomplete sensory information and it is highly scalable, since increasing number of MAVs even improves the required coherence behavior. Statistical tests in various robotic simulators and environments were conducted to analyze the algorithm performance in its different configurations. The tests also sought to verify the algorithm's reliability, taking into account limitations of designed systems of mutual localization of swarm members, which is a crucial tool required by multi-robot systems and especially by swarms sharing the same workspace.

Simulation verification of a swarm of UAVs using an extended Boids model.

Realistic simulation verification of a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles in a forest-like environment based on extended Boids model. Obstacles are predefined prior the flight in the controller. The reactive control of the UAVs relies solely on its and others known position. The swarm is flying with constant altitude 2m.

MAV group forming a distributed sensory array (flying adaptive “antennas”).

A realistic simulation of a compact self-stabilized MAV group forming a distributed sensory array to illustrate the proposed concept of flying adaptive “antennas”. The flexible sensory array adapts its shape to move through an environment with obstacles. The realistic simulations (including MAV dynamics and interaction with environment) were prepared in Gazebo using the multi-MAV control system successfully deployed by our team in the MBZIRC competition.

3D simulation of swarm movement using the escape behavior method.

This movie presents an investigation of swarm control dealing with an escape behavior, which is important functionality in application with human-swarm coexistence. The escape behavior algorithm was extended for the swarm purposes. The movement strategies originally developed for holonomic point particles were replaced with dynamic models of UAVs. Examples of the swarm movement under the rules of the escape behavior using the dynamic models of UAVs are shown in the movie.

Swarms of micro aerial vehicles in a former strip mine.

Micro aerial vehicles stabilized relatively to their neighbors within a formation or a swarm. Robots employ an onboard visual localization for their relative stabilization. No external localization system, such as Vicon or GPS is used. Experiments are also conducted in challenging outdoor environment of former pit.

Swarm of self-stabilized unmanned helicopters in indoor environment.

A stabilization and control technique developed for steering swarms of unmanned micro aerial vehicles. The approach based on a visual relative localization of swarm particles is designed for utilization of multi-robot teams in real-world dynamic environments. The core of the swarming behaviour is inspired by Reynold's BOID model proposed for 2D simulations of schooling behaviour of fish. The proposed method aspires to be an enabling technique for deployment of swarms of micro areal vehicles outside laboratories that are equipped with precise positioning systems.

Formation of micro aerial vehicles using relative visual localization.

Formation of relatively stabilized micro aerial vehicles. Robots employ an onboard visual localization for their stabilization in a changing formation. No external localization system, such as Vicon is used.

 

Simulation of swarm movement using the escape behavior method.

Utilization of Fish School Search (FSS) based method for searching in 3D environment. The FSS based algorithm is modified for control a swarm of quadrocopters and it respects motion constraints and limits of the visual relative localization. In the experiments, MAVs cooperatively search for locations with lowest intensity of a signal transmitted from four transmitters distributed in the environment in different altitude. The intensity of the signal is simulated in the experiment based on known locations and transmission power of virtual transmitters. The experiment was realized in the GRASP Laboratory of University Of Pennsylvania within joint project of Czech Technical University in Prague and the University Of Pennsylvania.

 

Selected publications:

Journal articles:

  1. M Saska, V Vonasek, T Krajnik and L Preucil. Coordination and Navigation of Heterogeneous MAV–UGV Formations Localized by a ‘hawk-eye’-like Approach Under a Model Predictive Control Scheme. International Journal of Robotics Research 33(10):1393–1412, September 2014. PDF BibTeX

    @article{Saska14:218644,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Vonasek, V. and Krajnik, T. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Coordination and Navigation of Heterogeneous MAV\&\#8211;UGV Formations Localized by a \&\#8216;hawk-eye\&\#8217;-like Approach Under a Model Predictive Control Scheme}",
    	journal = "International Journal of Robotics Research",
    	year = 2014,
    	volume = 33,
    	number = 10,
    	pages = "1393--1412",
    	month = "September",
    	issn = "0278-3649",
    	language = "English",
    	pdf = "data/papers/IJRR2014.pdf"
    }
    
  2. M Saska, T Krajnik, V Vonasek, Z Kasl, V Spurny and L Preucil. Fault-Tolerant Formation Driving Mechanism Designed for Heterogeneous MAVs-UGVs Groups. Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems 73(1-4):603–622, January 2014. URL PDF BibTeX

    @article{Saska14:212936,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Krajnik, T. and Vonasek, V. and Kasl, Z. and Spurny, V. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Fault-Tolerant Formation Driving Mechanism Designed for Heterogeneous MAVs-UGVs Groups}",
    	journal = "Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems",
    	year = 2014,
    	volume = 73,
    	number = "1-4",
    	pages = "603--622",
    	month = "January",
    	issn = "0921-0296",
    	language = "English",
    	url = "http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10846-013-9976-6",
    	pdf = "data/papers/JINT14_failure.pdf"
    }
    
  3. M Saska, V Vonásek, J Chudoba, J Thomas, G Loianno and V Kumar. Swarm Distribution and Deployment for Cooperative Surveillance by Micro-Aerial Vehicles. Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems. 84(1):469–492, 2016. PDF BibTeX

    @article{SaskaJINT2016,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Von{\'a}sek, V. and Chudoba, J. and Thomas, J. and Loianno, G. and Kumar, V.",
    	title = "Swarm Distribution and Deployment for Cooperative Surveillance by Micro-Aerial Vehicles",
    	journal = "Journal of Intelligent \& Robotic Systems.",
    	volume = 84,
    	number = 1,
    	pages = "469--492",
    	year = 2016,
    	pdf = "data/papers/SaskaJINT2016.pdf"
    }
    
  4. M Saska, T Baca, J Thomas, J Chudoba, L Preucil, T Krajnik, J Faigl, G Loianno and V Kumar. System for deployment of groups of unmanned micro aerial vehicles in GPS-denied environments using onboard visual relative localization. Autonomous Robots 41(4):919–944, 2017. PDF BibTeX

    @article{SaskaAURO16,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Baca, T. and Thomas, J. and Chudoba, J. and Preucil, L. and Krajnik, T. and Faigl, J. and Loianno, G. and Kumar, V.",
    	title = "{System for deployment of groups of unmanned micro aerial vehicles in GPS-denied environments using onboard visual relative localization}",
    	journal = "Autonomous Robots",
    	year = 2017,
    	volume = 41,
    	number = 4,
    	pages = "919--944",
    	pdf = "data/papers/AURO2016.pdf"
    }
    
  5. M Saska, J S Mejia, D M Stipanovic, V Vonasek, K Schilling and L Preucil. Control and Navigation in Manoeuvres of Formations of Unmanned Mobile Vehicles. European Journal of Control 19(2):157–171, March 2013. PDF BibTeX

    @article{Saska13:206004,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Mejia, J.S. and Stipanovic, D.M. and Vonasek, V. and Schilling, K. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Control and Navigation in Manoeuvres of Formations of Unmanned Mobile Vehicles}",
    	journal = "European Journal of Control",
    	year = 2013,
    	volume = 19,
    	number = 2,
    	pages = "157--171",
    	month = "March",
    	pdf = "data/papers/European_Journal_control2013.pdf"
    }
    
  6. M Saska, V Vonasek and L Preucil. Trajectory Planning and Control for Airport Snow Sweeping by Autonomous Formations of Ploughs. Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems 72(2):239–261, 2013. PDF BibTeX

    @article{Saska13:210714,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Vonasek, V. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Trajectory Planning and Control for Airport Snow Sweeping by Autonomous Formations of Ploughs}",
    	journal = "Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems",
    	year = 2013,
    	volume = 72,
    	number = 2,
    	pages = "239--261",
    	pdf = "data/papers/JINT2013_2leaders.pdf"
    }
    
  7. M Hess, M Saska and K Schilling. Application of Coordinated Multi Vehicle Formations for Snow Shoveling on Airports. Inteligent Service Robotics 2(4):205 – 217, 2009. PDF BibTeX

    @article{hess09mechatronics,
    	author = "Hess, M. and Saska, M. and Schilling, K.",
    	title = "Application of Coordinated Multi Vehicle Formations for Snow Shoveling on Airports",
    	journal = "Inteligent Service Robotics",
    	year = 2009,
    	volume = 2,
    	number = 4,
    	pages = "205 -- 217",
    	pdf = "data/papers/IntelligentServiceRoboticsJournal.pdf"
    }
    

WoS conference papers:

  1. M Saska, J Vakula and L Preucil. Swarms of Micro Aerial Vehicles Stabilized Under a Visual Relative Localization. In ICRA2014: Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. 2014, 3570–3575. URL PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska14:221382,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Vakula, J. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Swarms of Micro Aerial Vehicles Stabilized Under a Visual Relative Localization}",
    	booktitle = "{ICRA2014: Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation}",
    	publisher = "IEEE",
    	address = "Piscataway",
    	year = 2014,
    	pages = "3570--3575",
    	isbn = "978-1-4799-3684-7",
    	language = "English",
    	url = "http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=\&arnumber=6907374",
    	pdf = "data/papers/ICRA2014escape_short-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  2. M Saska, J Chudoba, L Preucil, J Thomas, G Loianno, A Tresnak, V Vonasek and V Kumar. Autonomous Deployment of Swarms of Micro-Aerial Vehicles in Cooperative Surveillance. In Proceedings of 2014 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS) 1. 2014, 584–595. URL PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska14:221385,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Chudoba, J. and Preucil, L. and Thomas, J. and Loianno, G. and Tresnak, A. and Vonasek, V. and Kumar, V.",
    	title = "{Autonomous Deployment of Swarms of Micro-Aerial Vehicles in Cooperative Surveillance}",
    	booktitle = "{Proceedings of 2014 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)}",
    	publisher = "IEEE Computer society",
    	address = "Danvers",
    	year = 2014,
    	volume = 1,
    	pages = "584--595",
    	isbn = "978-1-4799-2376-2",
    	language = "English",
    	url = "http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=\&arnumber=6842301",
    	pdf = "data/papers/icuas2014-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  3. M Saska. MAV-swarms: unmanned aerial vehicles stabilized along a given path using onboard relative localization. In International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS). 2015. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska15icuas,
    	author = "Saska, M.",
    	title = "{MAV-swarms: unmanned aerial vehicles stabilized along a given path using onboard relative localization}",
    	booktitle = "{International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)}",
    	year = 2015,
    	pdf = "data/papers/icuas2015.pdf"
    }
    
  4. M Saska, J Langr and L Preucil. Plume Tracking by a Self-stabilized Group of Micro Aerial Vehicles. In Modelling and Simulation for Autonomous Systems 1. 2014, 44–55. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska14:226686,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Langr, J. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Plume Tracking by a Self-stabilized Group of Micro Aerial Vehicles}",
    	booktitle = "{Modelling and Simulation for Autonomous Systems}",
    	publisher = "Springer",
    	address = "Cham",
    	year = 2014,
    	volume = 1,
    	pages = "44--55",
    	isbn = "978-3-319-13822-0",
    	issn = "0302-9743",
    	language = "English",
    	pdf = "data/papers/MESAS2014Springer-crop-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  5. J Faigl, T Krajnik, J Chudoba, L Preucil and M Saska. Low-Cost Embedded System for Relative Localization in Robotic Swarms. In ICRA2013: Proceedings of 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. 2013, 985–990. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Faigl13:205381,
    	author = "Faigl, J. and Krajnik, T. and Chudoba, J. and Preucil, L. and Saska, M.",
    	title = "{Low-Cost Embedded System for Relative Localization in Robotic Swarms}",
    	booktitle = "{ICRA2013: Proceedings of 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation}",
    	publisher = "IEEE",
    	address = "Piscataway",
    	year = 2013,
    	pages = "985--990",
    	isbn = "978-1-4673-5641-1",
    	issn = "1050-4729",
    	language = "English",
    	pdf = "data/papers/ICRA13cameraModule-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  6. M Saska, T Baca and D Hert. Formations of Unmanned Micro Aerial Vehicles Led by Migrating Virtual Leader. In 14th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision (ICARCV). 2016. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska2016icarcv,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Baca, T. and Hert, D.",
    	title = "Formations of Unmanned Micro Aerial Vehicles Led by Migrating Virtual Leader",
    	booktitle = "14th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision (ICARCV)",
    	year = 2016,
    	pdf = "data/papers/ICARCV2016.pdf"
    }
    
  7. M Saska, Z Kasl and L Preucil. Motion Planning and Control of Formations of Micro Aerial Vehicles. In Proceedings of The 19th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control. 2014, 1228–1233. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska14:219889,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Kasl, Z. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Motion Planning and Control of Formations of Micro Aerial Vehicles}",
    	booktitle = "{Proceedings of The 19th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control}",
    	publisher = "IFAC",
    	address = "Pretoria",
    	year = 2014,
    	pages = "1228--1233",
    	isbn = "978-3-902823-62-5",
    	issn = "1474-6670",
    	language = "English",
    	pdf = "data/papers/ifac2014-crop-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  8. M Saska, T Krajnik, V Vonasek, P Vanek and L Preucil. Navigation, Localization and Stabilization of Formations of Unmanned Aerial and Ground Vehicles. In Proceedings of 2013 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. 2013, 831–840. URL PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska13:206002,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Krajnik, T. and Vonasek, V. and Vanek, P. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Navigation, Localization and Stabilization of Formations of Unmanned Aerial and Ground Vehicles}",
    	booktitle = "{Proceedings of 2013 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems}",
    	publisher = "Springer",
    	address = "New York",
    	year = 2013,
    	pages = "831--840",
    	isbn = "978-1-4799-0817-2",
    	language = "English",
    	url = "https://controls.papercept.net/conferences/scripts/abstract.pl?ConfID=53\&Number=70",
    	pdf = "data/papers/icuas2013aFINAL-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  9. M Saska, V Vonasek, T Krajnik and L Preucil. Coordination and Navigation of Heterogeneous UAVs-UGVs Teams Localized by a Hawk-Eye Approach. In Proceedings of 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 1. 2012, 2166–2171. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska12:198993,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Vonasek, V. and Krajnik, T. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Coordination and Navigation of Heterogeneous UAVs-UGVs Teams Localized by a Hawk-Eye Approach}",
    	booktitle = "{Proceedings of 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems}",
    	publisher = "IEEE",
    	address = "Piscataway",
    	year = 2012,
    	volume = 1,
    	pages = "2166--2171",
    	isbn = "978-1-4673-1735-1",
    	language = "English",
    	pdf = "data/papers/IROS-helMPC-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  10. M Saska. Large sensors with adaptive shape realised by selfstabilised compact groups of micro aerial vehicles. In International Symposium on Robotic Research. 2017. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{saska17isrr,
    	author = "M. Saska",
    	title = "Large sensors with adaptive shape realised by selfstabilised compact groups of micro aerial vehicles",
    	booktitle = "International Symposium on Robotic Research",
    	year = 2017,
    	pdf = "data/papers/saska17isrr.pdf"
    }
    
  11. V Vonasek, M Saska and L Preucil. Motion Planning for a Cable Driven Parallel Multiple Manipulator Emulating a Swarm of MAVs. In Robot Motion and Control 2013. 2013. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Vonasek13:206161,
    	author = "Vonasek, V. and Saska, M. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Motion Planning for a Cable Driven Parallel Multiple Manipulator Emulating a Swarm of MAVs}",
    	booktitle = "{Robot Motion and Control 2013}",
    	year = 2013,
    	pdf = "data/papers/romoco_lanovy_multirobot-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  12. M Saska, V Spurny and L Preucil. Trajectory Planning and Stabilization for Formations Acting in Dynamic Environments. In Progress in Artificial Intelligence. 2013. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska13:210722,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Spurny, V. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Trajectory Planning and Stabilization for Formations Acting in Dynamic Environments}",
    	booktitle = "{Progress in Artificial Intelligence}",
    	year = 2013,
    	pdf = "data/papers/EPIA_IROBOT_2013_dynamic_obst-crop-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  13. M Saska, M Macas, L Preucil and L Lhotska. Robot Path Planning using Particle Swarm Optimization of Ferguson Splines. In ETFA 2006. 2006. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska06:123472,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Macas, M. and Preucil, L. and Lhotska, L.",
    	title = "{Robot Path Planning using Particle Swarm Optimization of Ferguson Splines}",
    	booktitle = "{ETFA 2006}",
    	year = 2006,
    	pdf = "data/papers/ETFA06_PSO_splines.pdf"
    }
    
  14. M Saska, V Vonasek and L Preucil. Roads Sweeping by Unmanned Multi-vehicle Formations. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). 2011. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska11:184238,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Vonasek, V. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Roads Sweeping by Unmanned Multi-vehicle Formations}",
    	booktitle = "{IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)}",
    	year = 2011,
    	pdf = "data/papers/ICRA2011_2leaders_airport_final-crop-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  15. M Saska, V Vonasek and L Preucil. Control of ad-hoc formations for autonomous airport snow shoveling. In IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). 2010. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska10:175772,
    	author = "Saska, M. and Vonasek, V. and Preucil, L.",
    	title = "{Control of ad-hoc formations for autonomous airport snow shoveling}",
    	booktitle = "{IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)}",
    	year = 2010,
    	pdf = "data/papers/IROS2010_final_splitting-joined.pdf"
    }
    
  16. M Saska, J S Mejia, D M Stipanovic and K Schilling. Control and Navigation of Formations of Car-Like Robots on a Receding Horizon. In IEEE Multi-conference on Systems and Control. 2009. PDF BibTeX

    @inproceedings{Saska09MSC,
    	author = "M. Saska and J. S. Mejia and D. M. Stipanovic and K. Schilling",
    	title = "Control and Navigation of Formations of Car-Like Robots on a Receding Horizon",
    	booktitle = "IEEE Multi-conference on Systems and Control",
    	year = 2009,
    	pdf = "data/papers/MSC-joined.pdf"
    }
    


Student works

  • Pavel Petráček - Decentralized model of a swarm behavior Boids in ROS [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Daniel Brandtner - Coherent swarming of micro aerial vehicles with minimum computational and communication requirements [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jan Charvát - Distributed cohesive control for swarms of micro aerial vehicles [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Zdeněk Kasl - 3D formations of unmanned aerial vehicles (M.Sc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jan Langr - Odor source localization using swarm of unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jindřich Mráček - FSS algorithm adapted for control of swarm of unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Vojtěch Spurný - Heterogeneous formations of ground vehicles and unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Adam Třešňák - Shape optimization of swarm of unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jan Vakula - Escape behavior in swarms of unmanned helicopters [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Vojtěch Pavlík - Swarm intelligence applied in multi-robot applications [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Pavel Zedník - Relative visual localization in swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)