Self-repairing Swarm Robotic Systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Electronics


Self-reconfigurable modular robots are robotic modules which can physically connect with one another and dynamically alter their structural configuration through a process known as morphogenesis. For self-reconfigurable modular robotic systems to be effective in tasks like search and rescue they will need to be capable of surviving autonomously for long periods of time, whilst demonstrating high levels of reliability and fault tolerance.

This research project will consider novel approaches to the study of reliability using morphogenesis techniques and mechanisms. The techniques will be used to help develop new strategies for detecting faults and recovering from failures. The strategies will be demonstrated in simulation initially and then moved onto real robotic hardware. It is hoped that systems employing such methods will be able to recover significantly quicker and survive longer than systems which do not employ such techniques and methods.

The design of a new platform extension and algorithms for controlling the collective locomotion of robots equipped with be developed. It is hoped that similar locomotion strategies can be used to demonstrate implicit forms of self-assembly and self-reconfiguration.

The aim of the project will be to show that long-term autonomy of self-reconfigurable modular robotic systems can be improved through the study and development of new and existing approaches to fault tolerant morphogenesis.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509802/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2022
1947298 Studentship EP/N509802/1 01/10/2017 31/03/2021 Robert Peck
Description Work is still in progress, however to date we have designed and developed a novel new modular robotic platform for experiments into self-repair and self-assembly under unusual circumstances, begun simulation work focused on exploring new algorithms for robotic self-assembly and self-repair during continuous motion, and should soon be testing those algorithms on the real world hardware.
Exploitation Route Further development of modular robots and advancement of their capabilities, especially in regards to systems for use in the monitoring and maintenance of large and hard to access infrastructure (nuclear reactors, sewers, bridges, aero engines), for post-disaster search and rescue under rubble and for planetary surface exploration.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport,Other