EU project CoCoRo

Deep Down We Go

In the EU-ICT project CoCoRo a swarm of robots was designed to browse though an underwater habitat while coordinating the swarm members through bio-inspired and bio-mimetic algorithms. Algorithms were inspired from bees, fireflies, slime mold, fish, birds and cockroaches. Three different types of robots were designed and formed a swarm of 42 autonomous robots together. In the days between 2012 and 2015 the CoCoRo swarm was the largest autonomous underwater robot swarm in the world, until I and my project partners pushed the record to 125 robots with the subCULTron swarm.

A swarm of Lily robots forms a swarm and coordinates its motion via blue-light signals.

Jeff robots docked on the surface station, followed by some Lily robots.

Jeff robot autonomous docking to base station with magnetic coupling.

My research in the EU-ICT project CoCoRo is in cooperation with the following international and interdisciplinary partners: Prof. Paul Levi (Universität Stuttgart, Germany), Prof. Jean-Louis Deneubourg (Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), Prof. Cesare Stefanini (Scuola Superiore Di Studi Universitari E Di Perfezionamento Santa Anna, Pontedera, Italy), Prof. John Timmis (University of York, United Kingdom). In my lab, Dr. Ronald Thenius, Dr. Payam Zahadat, Mag. Christoph Möslinger conduct significant work in this project.

Lily robots are slow but many, they are the ones that keep information in place and diffuse it in the environment

Jeff robots are very agile and fast, they explore the habitat quickly and bridge info between subswarms of Lily robots

Both robot types have to work together in a larger CoCoRo swarm system which is one large cognitive agent

All(most) the whole CoCoRo swarm in one place before the experiments begin

Jeff robot on the seafloor in Livorno harbor (in Italy) in a dead-reckoning test

A test run of group synchronization with an algorithm inspired by fireflies

Lily robots aggregating around a light target (brightest spot in the habitat)

Lily robots have successfully found the most shallow space in the habitat and started aggregating there

Group size measurement based on blinking signals exchanged with neighbors: Which side of the swarm is larger? A difficult question for a little robot within the swarm.

A swarm of Lily robots has found its target

Collective decision making and meta-cognition in Jeff robots in choices amongst two magnetic targets

Lily robots have successfully detected a magnetic target nearby and started aggregation there

Jeff having a hard time to swim against the water current (lab test)

A Jeff robot having a hard time with docking to the surface robot in the ocean

Jeff robot autonomous docking to base station with magnetic coupling.

Jeff robot exploring a lake in Italy in an untethered mode of operation.

The base station is a catamaran-like robot with a submerged electrode for communication.