Lifecycle treatment (design, modeling, analysis, control, implementation and verification) of smart, mechanical, mechatronic and robotic systems
Our guiding vision is to create and evaluate an overall framework for cooperative payload transport by fleets of autonomous wheeled modules. Individual modules can be coupled together to create larger composite-wheeled systems in various shapes and sizes. Tremendous benefits accrue from the resulting system that can be controlled as a single large collective and can actively be reconfigured into various formation shapes to enhance performance. To this end, our research team is applying lessons learned from natural biological collectives (such as armies of ants) to implement scalable and decentralized cooperative manipulation in artificial robot collectives. Application arenas range from industrial applications, where suitable numbers of such modules can be tasked to manipulate variable-sized payloads, to extreme-event applications, where individual rover modules sent on separate missions can cooperate to support search-and-rescue efforts.