Swarm Intelligence

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 245–266 | Cite as

Kilogrid: a novel experimental environment for the Kilobot robot

  • Gabriele Valentini
  • Anthony Antoun
  • Marco Trabattoni
  • Bernát Wiandt
  • Yasumasa Tamura
  • Etienne Hocquard
  • Vito Trianni
  • Marco Dorigo


We present the Kilogrid, an open-source virtualization environment and data logging manager for the Kilobot robot, Kilobot for short. The Kilogrid has been designed to extend the sensory-motor abilities of the Kilobot, to simplify the task of collecting data during experiments, and to provide researchers with a tool to fine-control the experimental setup and its parameters. Based on the design of the Kilobot and compatible with existing hardware, the Kilogrid is a modular system composed of a grid of computing nodes, or modules that provides a bidirectional communication channel between the Kilobots and a remote workstation. In this paper, we describe the hardware and software architecture of the Kilogrid system as well as its functioning to accompany its release as a new open hardware tool for the swarm robotics community. We demonstrate the capabilities of the Kilogrid using a 200-module Kilogrid, swarms of up to 100 Kilobots, and four different case studies: exploration and obstacle avoidance, site selection based on multiple gradients, plant watering, and pheromone-based foraging. Through this set of case studies, we show how the Kilogrid allows the experimenter to virtualize sensors and actuators not available to the Kilobot and to automatize the collection of data essential for the analysis of the experiments.


Kilogrid Kilobot Swarm robotics Virtualization Automated data collection Tracking Open source 



This work was supported by the European Research Council through the ERC Advanced Grant “E-SWARM: Engineering Swarm Intelligence Systems” (contract 246939) to Marco Dorigo. Marco Dorigo acknowledges support from the Belgian F.R.S.-FNRS, for which he is a Research Director.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IRIDIAUniversité libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Beyond Center, School of Earth and Space ExplorationArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.Budapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  4. 4.School of ComputingTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  5. 5.IRT Jules VerneNantesFrance
  6. 6.ISTCConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomeItaly

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