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Mega Plan



The robots were designed both as educational tools and with the intent of conducting multi-agent and wireless networking research, both on-robot and in simulation.


The current research at GMU, for which the robots were designed, includes:

  • Ant foraging via digital pheromones or movable beacons
  • Wireless sensor network routing involving mobile platforms and multiple sinks
  • Cooperative target observation
  • Herding
  • Collective map building
  • Dynamic changes in ad-hoc networking topology

The Flockbots were featured heavily for a 2015 paper on swarm foraging using digital pheromones on movable beacons. Katherine Russell, Michael Schader, Kevin Andrea, and Sean Luke. 2015. Swarm Robot Foraging with Wireless Sensor Motes. In International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2015).

We are also actively developing simulators for the robots at various levels of detail in the MASON multi-agent simulation environment (with 2D kinematics) and breve.


GMU's CS499 (Special Topics - Autonomous Robotics) class designed and constructed the original flockbots in order to develop a holistic approach to robotics (mechanics, control, and AI). The GMU Robotics Club has also been closely involved in the design of the robots from the beginning, partly with the intent of including them (or variations) in the Trinity firefighting contest.

In 2013, undergraduate CS students Michael Bowen and David Fleming spearheaded the complete redesign of these robots. They designed and constructed the new robots using modern hobbyist electronics in conjunction with Professor Luke of the Autonomous Robotics Laboratory and Kevin Andrea of the Systems Laboratory.

The Flockbots have been used most recently by students in CS880 (Special Topics - Multi-Agent Systems) and CS485 (Autonomus Robotics).

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Page last modified on August 27, 2015, at 04:03 PM