Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 3–4, pp 395–412 | Cite as

Perpetual Robot Swarm: Long-Term Autonomy of Mobile Robots Using On-the-fly Inductive Charging

  • Farshad Arvin
  • Simon Watson
  • Ali Emre Turgut
  • Jose Espinosa
  • Tomáš Krajník
  • Barry Lennox


Swarm robotics studies the intelligent collective behaviour emerging from long-term interactions of large number of simple robots. However, maintaining a large number of robots operational for long time periods requires significant battery capacity, which is an issue for small robots. Therefore, re-charging systems such as automated battery-swapping stations have been implemented. These systems require that the robots interrupt, albeit shortly, their activity, which influences the swarm behaviour. In this paper, a low-cost on-the-fly wireless charging system, composed of several charging cells, is proposed for use in swarm robotic research studies. To determine the system’s ability to support perpetual swarm operation, a probabilistic model that takes into account the swarm size, robot behaviour and charging area configuration, is outlined. Based on the model, a prototype system with 12 charging cells and a small mobile robot, Mona, was developed. A series of long-term experiments with different arenas and behavioural configurations indicated the model’s accuracy and demonstrated the system’s ability to support perpetual operation of multi-robotic system.


Swarm robotics Wireless charging Long-term autonomy Perpetual swarm 


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This work was supported by Innovate UK (Project No. KTP009811), UK EPSRC (Reference: EP/P01366X/1) and Czech Science Foundation project 17-27006Y.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Artificial Intelligence Centre, Faculty of Electrical EngineeringCzech Technical UniversityPragueCzechia

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