Co-Operative and Swarm Robotics

Research Area: 

Our research in co-operative and swarm robotics investigates how small to large sized groups of robots can accomplish tasks cooperatively. The main focus is on robots that operate autonomously in uncertain and dynamically changing environments. A range of robotic systems are studied including groups of wheeled robots, flying robots & climbing robots as well as modular reconfigurable robots.

Research projects and expertise knowledge

The GUARDIANS – Group of Unmaned Assistant Robots Deployed in Aggressive Navigation by Scent- (

The GUARDIANS are a swarm of autonomous robots applied to navigate and search an urban ground. For instance, in a situation such as industrial warehouse in smoke, robots can provide vital assistance to humans who run the danger of being intoxicated, become disoriented and get lost. Robots can warn of toxic chemicals, provide and maintain mobile communication links, infer localisation information and assist in searching. In this way, they can indirectly save lives.

Brazil Nut Effect – Spatial segregation based on the Brazil nut effect

The spatial segregation based on the Brazil nut effect is a project developed at Natural Robitics Lab (, and which studies a simple algorithm inspired by the Brazil nut effect for achieving segregation in a swarm of mobile robots. The algorithm lets each robot mimic a particle of a certain size and broadcast this information locally. The segregation task requires the swarm to self-organise into a special arrangement in which robots are ranked.

Cooperation in groups of solitary or social individuals (evolution of self-assembly)

This project, developed at Natural Robotics Lab (, is engaged with simulating a system of simple, insect-like robots that can move autonomously and grasp objects as well as each other. Artificial evolution is used to produce solitary transport and group transport behaviour. This project shows that robots, even though not aware of each other, can be effective in group transport. More robotics based projects are developed at Natural Robotics Lab. Please, have a look at

Research groups

Centre for Automation and Robotics Research – CARR ( is a centre based at Sheffield Hallam University and which brings together robotics related research, teaching and consultancy. The centre is a foreground for REINS, The GUARDIANS and the VIEW-FINDER research projects.

Natural Robotics Lab (, which is led by Dr. Roderick Gross, investigates robotic systems inspired by nature and robotic models of natural systems. Particular emphasis is on the study of self-assembling robotic systems and swarm robotic systems.