Swarm Robotics

The research on swarms at IMR aims to integrate principles and theoretical background of swarm behaviours with methodologies/theories describing cooperative localization and self-organizing adaptation of autonomous robots. The goal is to create a flexible stand-alone system that will enable the applicability of SWARM robotics in realistic outdoor scenarios of surveillance and reconnaissance.

Essentially, we develop principles for decentralized relative localization of neighboring particles and integrate them into swarm behaviors, with the aim of keeping reciprocal visibility between neighbors. This enables us to employ micro-UAV swarms outside laboratories, without the need for precise positioning systems.

In addition, the concept of adaptively evolving swarm behaviors is established in order to decrease relative localization uncertainty. To enable multi-robot applications, the optimal shapes of micro-UAV swarms is determined by theoretical principles that are based on bio-inspired methods of artificial intelligence, namely Self-Organizing Maps and Particle Swarm Optimization. Finally, decentralized collective decision making mechanisms are established with the support of a theory that identifies the assumptions necessary for the switching between different swarm behaviors. This research focuses on the observed autonomous behaviors of micro-UAV swarms.

As a parallel stream, we are developing principles of autonomous formation driving and stabilization into a desired group shape. Our research is focused on mobile robot coordination in environments with dynamic obstacles, on splitting and coupling of teams and on trajectory planning for the formations. From the application perspective, the research is aimed at road sweeping and in particular at airport snow shoveling and park pathways maintenance.

Finally, we investigate methods of coordination of heterogeneous teams (UAVs&UGVs), including autonomous take-off and landing. This research is focused on surveillance, where UAV is employed to survey areas inaccessible for UGV.

People involved:

Libor Přeučil
Jan Chudoba


Libor Přeučil


(:includefile demos/demos_swarm_fixed.html:)

See IMR demos page for more records of experiments of the SWARM stream and IMR in general.

See AR-drone robotic research page for movies and description of research with AR-drone quadrotor platform at Intelligent and Mobile Robotics Group of Czech Technical University in Prague.

Experimental platforms and facilities:

MikroKopter L4-ME:

The main experimental platform employed for verification of swarm tests is the L4-ME quadrotor designed by the MikroKopter company. We are building a fleet of >5 UAVs equipped with relative visual localization.

Module of visual relative localization

This device is the key component of the arising system of swarm control, based on visual relative localization feedback. The system is small, light-weight, low-cost, fast and reliable. It is based on off-the-shelf components consisting of a Caspa camera module and a Gumstix Overo board, accompanied by an in-house efficient image processing method for detecting black and white circular patterns. The developed system exhibits reliable and fast estimation of the relative position of the pattern up to 30 fps using the full resolution of the Caspa camera. Details on the system can be found in: ICRA 2013 paper, [bib].


A lighter quadrotor of the Parrot company is employed for experiments in environments with possible occurrence of humans and for testing algorithms of human-UAV interaction. In our system, the AR-drone is capable of landing on a UGV to form a heterogenous team. Details on the AR-drone control system for autonomous flying, which is available for free by our team, may be found in: IROS 2012 paper, [bib].

Pioneer 3-AT with a mobile helipad

We have developed a cognitive mobile helipad being able to change its shape and to support the landing and carrying of an UAV. Details on the landing and take-off maneuvers and the helipad design may be found in IEEE SSD 2012 paper, [bib].

Outdoor testing arena

To fulfill regulations given by the airspace authority and to protect UAVs in swarm experiments, we have built a large net, which enables outdoor experiments.

Cable driven parallel multiple manipulator to emulate a swarm of UAVs

This platform was developed for a preliminary testing of the relative visual navigation between swarm entities. The main idea of the robot is to enable precise positioning of multiple objects in 3D. This allows us to safely demonstrate swarming behaviors and gather meaningful data for the development of visual relative localization. Details on the robot design and basic planning algorithms are provided in: Vonásek, V. - Saska, M. - Přeučil, L. Motion Planning for a Cable Driven Parallel Multiple Manipulator Emulating a Swarm of MAVs. Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Robot Motion Control, RoMoCo'13, 2013.

Multi-robot SyRoTek platform

The SyRoTek (“System for robotic e-learning”) allows to remotely (via internet) control up to 13 robots in a dynamic environment and monitor their behaviour on-line during real experiments. Since the system is 24/7 ready to use, it is an ideal platform for testing swarm and formation driving algorithms. Details on the SyRoTek system can be found at SyRoTek web page.

Selected publications:

Journal articles, books, book chapters:

  • Saska, M. - Vonásek, V. - Přeučil, L.: Trajectory Planning and Control for Airport Snow Sweeping by Autonomous Formations of Ploughs, Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, April, 2013. DOI 10.1007/s10846-013-9829-3. (In Press) [pdf]
  • Saska, M. - Mejía, J. S. - Stipanović, D. M. - Vonásek, V. - Schilling, K. - Přeučil, L.: Control and navigation in manoeuvres of formations of unmanned mobile vehicles, European Journal of Control, 2013. (In Press)
  • Saska, M.: Trajectory planning and optimal control for formations of autonomous robots. Schriftenreihe Würzburger Forschungsberichte in Robotik und Telematik, Band 3. Würzburg: Universität Würzburg. 2010. ISSN: 1868-7466
  • Hess, M. - Saska, M. - Schilling, K.: Application of Coordinated Multi Vehicle Formations for Snow Shoveling on Airports. Inteligent Service Robotics, Volume 2, Number 4, Pages 205-217, October, 2009

Conference papers:

  • Saska, M. - Krajník, T. - Vonásek, V. - Přeučil, L.: Navigation, localization and stabilization of formations of unmanned aerial and ground vehicles. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS'13), 2013.
  • Faigl, J. - Krajník, T. - Chudoba, J. - Přeučil, L. - Saska, M.: Low-Cost Embedded System for Relative Localization in Robotic Swarms, Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013. [pdf] [bib]
  • Saska, M. - Vonásek, V. - Krajník, T. - Přeučil, L.: Coordination and Navigation of Heterogeneous UAVs-UGVs Teams Localized by a Hawk-Eye Approach. In Proceedings of 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2012), 2012. [pdf] [bib]
  • Saska, M. - Krajník, T. - Faigl, J. - Vonásek, V. - Přeučil, L.: Low Cost MAV Platform AR-Drone in Experimental Verifications of Methods for Vision Based Autonomous Navigation. In Proceedings of IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2012), 2012. [pdf] [bib]
  • Saska, M. - Krajník, T. - Přeučil, L.: Cooperative Micro UAV-UGV Autonomous Indoor Surveillance. In International Multi-Conference on Systems, Signals and Devices (IEEE SSD 2012), 2012. [pdf] [bib]
  • Saska, M. - Vonásek, V. - Přeučil, L.: Roads Sweeping by Unmanned Multi-vehicle Formations. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2011), 2011. [pdf] [bib]
  • M. Saska, V. Vonasek, T. Krajnik. Airport snow shoveling. In IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010), 2010. [pdf] [bib]
  • M. Saska, V. Vonasek, L. Preucil. Control of ad-hoc formations for autonomous airport snow shoveling. In IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010), 2010. [pdf] [bib]
  • M. Saska, M. Hess and K. Schilling. Efficient Airport Snow Shoveling by Applying Autonomous Multi-Vehicle Formations. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2008), 2008. [pdf] [bib]
  • M. Saska, J. S. Mejia, D. M. Stipanovic, and K. Schilling. Control and navigation of formations of car-like robots on a receding horizon, in IEEE Control Applications, (CCA) & Intelligent Control, (ISIC), part of the IEEE Multi-Conference on Systems & Control (IEEE MSC), 2009. [pdf] [bib]
  • Saska, M. - Vonásek, V. - Přeučil, L.: Formation Coordination with Path Planning in Space of Multinomials. In Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing, 2011. [pdf] [bib]
  • M. Saska, V. Vonasek, L. Preucil. Navigation and Formation Control Employing Complementary Virtual Leaders for Complex Maneuvers. In 7th international Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics, 2010. [pdf] [bib]
  • M. Saska, I. Ferenczi, M. Hess and K. Schilling. PATH PLANNING FOR FORMATIONS USING GLOBAL OPTIMIZATION WITH SPARSE GRIDS. In Proceedings of The 13th IASTED International Conference on Robotics and Applications (RA 2007), Wuerzburg, Germany, 2007. [pdf] [bib]

Student works

  • Zdeněk Kasl - 3D formations of unmanned aerial vehicles (M.Sc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Tomáš Báča - Control of relatively localized unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jan Langr - Odor source localization using swarm of unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jindřich Mráček - FSS algorithm adapted for control of swarm of unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Vojtěch Spurný - Heterogeneous formations of ground vehicles and unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Adam Třešňák - Shape optimization of swarm of unmanned helicopters (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Jan Vakula - Escape behavior in swarms of unmanned helicopters [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Filip Eckstein - Formation control in environment with dynamic obstacles [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Vojtěch Pavlík - Swarm intelligence applied in multi-robot applications [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)
  • Pavel Zedník - Relative visual localization in swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles [pdf] (Bc. thesis supervised by Martin Saska)

Projects and funding:

COLOS - grant MŠMT no. LH11053
Symbrion-Enlarged - European Union grant no. 216342
PostDoc GAČR - Martin Saska - grant MŠMT no. P103/12/P756
Page last modified on January 06, 2020, at 02:37 PM EST
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