ROBOMORE invites you to its second workshop. This time we cast the light on multi-robots systems.

Main actors are Jacopo Panerati and Giovanni Beltrame from the Polytechnique Montreal.

A Symbiotic Human and Multi-Robot Planetary Exploration System” and “How do you program 1000 robots” are the titles of their talks.


Summary and researchers’ profile:

Dr. Jacopo Panerati

A Symbiotic Human and Multi-Robot Planetary Exploration System

The availability of next generation heavy launchers—such as NASA’s SLS and SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy—will enable new planetary exploration missions. Most space agencies are now targeting the Moon as the next step in exploration beyond LEO and many already have plans for precursor robotic and human exploration. For example, ESA has championed the “Moon Village” concept since 2016 and NASA’s 2018 budget includes a Lunar Exploration Campaign. In this context, natural caves are appealing solutions to shelter humans and equipment for long-duration Lunar missions. In 2017, data from JAXA’s Kaguya probe revealed a 50km-long lava tube. For safety reasons, preliminary robotic exploration is imperative. Multi-robot systems carry the potential for greater efficiency and higher fault-tolerance, because of their ability to cooperate and inherent redundancy. Including humans into these systems is desirable to mitigate the complexity of the system but challenging at the interface level. The presentation, in particular, will focus on the preliminary results obtained during ESA’s recent PANGAEA-X planetary analog campaign in Lanzarote (Spain). We designed experiments to address two main subject: (i) the distributed computation of the multi-robot network properties; and (ii) the human-multi-robot system interaction.

Jacopo holds a Ph.D. degree in computer engineering from Polytechnique Montréal (Montréal, QC, Canada). He received the M.Sc. degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, IL) in 2012, the Laurea Triennale degree in computer engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) in 2009, and the Laurea Specialistica degree in computer engineering again from Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) in 2011. In 2015, He was a visiting researcher at the National Institute of Informatics (Tokyo, Japan) and he attended the International Space University’s Summer Study Program hosted by Ohio University (Athens, OH). In 2017, he served as a teaching associate for ISU at the Cork Institute of Technology (Cork, Ireland). Jacopo currently conducts post-doctoral research between Polytechnique Montréal and the European Astronaut Centre (Köln, Germany) in the context of ESA’s Networking/Partnering Initiative. Jacopo’s research interests include swarm robotics, human-robot interaction, machine learning, artificial intelligence, real-time and embedded systems.

Prof. Giovanni Beltrame, How do you program 1000 robots?

We are currently on the verge of a new technology revolution—autonomous robots are becoming more and more present in our everyday lives. From drones to self-driving cars, these systems are becoming pervasive, and are acting as an enabling technology for many kinds of safety-critical applications. Examples of robotic applications
are search-and-rescue operations, industrial and agricultural inspection, autonomous car driving, aerial mapping, monument digitization, and surgery. Despite this ambitious vision, the major achievements in the area of swarm robotics still consist of algorithms that tackle specific problem instances, and the performance of these algorithms strongly depends upon the context in which they are developed. Given this state of affairs, reproducing results and
comparing algorithms is difficult, hindering the development of swarm robotics as a whole. We present a novel  paradigm for the development of complex swarm behaviors. It offers a small, but powerful set of operations to specify behaviors both in a swarm-wide fashion, and from the point of view of an individual robot. This swarm-oriented programming offers the promise of letting a designer program thousands of robots in a manageable way. This talk will present the overall swarm-oriented approach, as well as practical examples in the area of disaster response.

Giovanni Beltrame obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in 2006, after which he worked as microelectronics engineer at the European Space Agency on a number of projects spanning from radiation-tolerant systems to computer-aided design. In 2010 he moved to Montreal, Canada where he is currently Associate Professor at Polytechnique Montreal with the Computer and Software Engineering Department. Dr. Beltrame directs the MIST Lab, with more than 30 students and postdocs under his supervision. His research interests include modeling and design of embedded systems, artificial intelligence, and robotics. He was awarded more than 15 grants by government agencies and industry, and has published more than 80 papers in international journals and conferences.

How do you program 1000 robots?