Fluid Swarms

Team Members


Project Description

The objective of this project is to achieve desirable behavior of robotic swarms. It is our observation that fluids (liquids and gases) have many desirable properties of motion that could be useful for swarm robotics. In particular, fluids (1) are easily deformed, (2) can squeeze through narrow tubes, and (3) easily rejoin after parting around objects. Furthermore, (4) by modifying flow-field variables, such as viscosity or pressure, it is easy to design and predict the overall fluid flow. Gases have the additional property that (5) they fill volumes.

For these reasons, we are exploring models of fluid flow for teams of robots and other vehicles, such as micro-air vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles. The particular modeling approaches that we are investigating are physicomimetics and kinetic theory.</p>


  1. D. Spears, W. Kerr, and W. Spears. Fluid-like swarms with predictable macroscopic behavior. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 4324
  2. D. Spears, W. Kerr, and W. Spears. Physics-based robot swarms for coverage problems. International Journal on Intelligent Control and Systems, 11(3).
  3. W. Kerr and D. Spears. Robotic Simulation of Gases For a Surveillance Task. In Proceedings IROS’05. 2005
  4. Spears, W., D. Spears, R. Heil, W. Kerr, and S. Hettiarachchi (in press). An overview of physicomimetics. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, State-of-the-Art Series, Volume 3342.
  5. W. Kerr, D. Spears, W. Spears, and D. Thayer. Two Formal Fluids Models For Multiagent Sweeping and Obstacle Avoidance. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 3228. Springer-Verlag, 2004