Bio-Inspired Robotic Shoals

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Engineering Mathematics


Underwater robotic swarms offer a potential solution to environmental and infrastructure monitoring. They
have the advantage of being able to cover large areas and tackle complex tasks, while remaining robust to
individual failures using simple and cheap robots. When operating swarms numbering in the thousands,
you need a controller that is simple and effective. To this end, we take inspiration from shoaling in nature,
focussing on species that can robustly operate in challenging environments.
In particular we look at the group of fish called cichlids (family Cichlidae), whom have been noted to have
expanded lateral lines that are thought to aid in shoaling behaviours. Through this work we will study the
morphology and resulting collective behaviour of these fish to develop a new underwater robot platform
with artificial lateral lines and more robust shoaling capabilities. We also expect this study to result in new
insight in biology.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509619/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1834211 Studentship EP/N509619/1 16/01/2017 15/01/2021 Elliott Scott