Comparing Coordination Schemes for Miniature Robotic Swarms: A Case Study in Boundary Coverage of Regular Structures

  • Nikolaus Correll
  • Samuel Rutishauser
  • Alcherio Martinoli
Part of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics book series (STAR, volume 39)


We consider boundary coverage of a regular structure by a swarm of miniature robots, and compare a suite of three fully distributed coordination algorithms experimentally. All algorithms rely on boundary coverage by reactive control, whereas coordination of the robots high-level behavior is fundamentally different: random, self-organized, and deliberative with reactive elements.

The self-organized coordination algorithm was designed using macroscopic probabilistic models that lead to analytical expressions for the algorithm’s mean performance. We contrast this approach with a provably complete, near optimal coverage algorithm, which is due to its assumption (noise-less sensors and actuators) infeasible on a real miniature robotic platform, but is considered to yield best-possible policies for an individual robot.

Experimental results with swarms of up to 30 robots show that self-organization significantly improves coverage performance with increasing swarm size. We also observe that enforcing a provably complete policy on a miniature robot with limited hardware capabilities is highly sub-optimal as there is a trade-off between coverage throughput and time spent for localization and navigation.


Span Tree Extension Module Coverage Algorithm Stator Blade Boundary Coverage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolaus Correll
    • 1
  • Samuel Rutishauser
    • 1
  • Alcherio Martinoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Swarm-Intelligent Systems Group, École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne, Station 14LausanneSwitzerland

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