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Swarm & Computational Intelligence Lab (SwaCIL) was formed in 2018 at the Control Systems Centre at the University of Manchester. We moved the lab to the Dept of Computer Science at Durham University, in 2022. The main focus is to investigate bio-inspired swarm intelligence mechanisms for use in real-world applications including animal-robot interactions, agri-robotics, biocoenosis and micro-mechatronics. We have developed many robotics platforms for various applications e.g. real-world applications in the bio-hybrid entities or research purpose platforms for the implementation of swarm scenarios inspired by social insects e.g. honeybees. Our main goal is to learn from nature, develop optimal robotic solutions, and use them to solve our problems.

 

Our Team

 

Robotic Platforms - Equipment

Colias and Mona robots have been developed by SwaCIL in collaboration with our partners. Mona and Colias were commercialised by two SMEs in the UK.

 

Research Topics

  • Bio-inspired Swarm Robotics
In this research theme,  ​we investigate bio-inspired mechanisms e.g. aggregation, pheromone communication, flocking, formation, foraging etc. We model and investigate various parameters e.g. environment, individuals' behaviour, heterogeneity etc on performance of the swarm. Experiments are mostly implemented with our real-robot platforms, Colias and Mona. 
  • Control Mechanisms from a Theoretical Perspective
In this research theme, we focus on the theoretical concept of the multi-agent system mainly focused on decentralised formation control and formation-containment scenario. We mainly model the decentralised swarm systems and investigate the effects of parameters on the swarm.
  • Machine Learning 
In this research theme, we mainly focus on the application of machine learning in swarm robotics. We are working on the combination of bio-inspired swarm behaviours (e.g. pheromone system) and reinforcement learning to improve the performance of the swarm as well as investigating real-world applications for the swarm mechanisms.
  • Applications
In this research theme, we focus on the application of swarm robotics in real-world scenarios e.g. Agri-robotics and Extreme Environments. There are several ongoing projects collaborating with REEG (Robotics for Extreme Environments group) at the University of Manchester.
  • Mechatronics 
In this research theme, we are developing hardware and robotics solutions in collaboration with our industry partners. We have close collaboration with industry in the development of micro-robots for swarm robotics and bespoke robots for extreme environments.  
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