Study level

  • PhD


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Professor Matthew Dunbabin
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


Single robotic systems can't accurately measure dynamic processes and map large areas in challenging environments. However, managing multiple robotic systems simultaneously poses many challenges around coordination and control. This is particularly true in environments where there's a lack of communication with the system. This project will explore multi-robot swarming and formation control to monitor, manage and track large-scale environmental phenomena.

In this project, you will explore multi-robot swarming and coordinated formation control for dynamic process monitoring, target tracking and coordinated mapping. There will be a particular focus on underwater and surface robotic systems. This will involve exploring:

  • biologically-inspired swarming
  • formal coordinated control
  • image and sensor fusion algorithms.

You'll then implement and validate these algorithms on our extensive state-of-the-art robotic platforms.

Research activities

Research activities will include:

  • distributed control, automated planning and decision algorithms
  • biologically inspired swarming, formation and adaptive sampling
  • homogeneous and heterogeneous systems
  • evaluating algorithms in challenging real-world environments
  • high-quality research presentations and publications.

This project offers you the opportunity to gain invaluable experience and skills that will foster opportunities for international travel and collaborations.


The primary outcomes from this project include:

  • advanced distributed control and planning algorithms
  • new biologically inspired swarming, formation and adaptive sampling algorithms
  • live demonstrations and videos showing algorithm performance on robotic systems in challenging real-world scenarios
  • research papers in top international conferences and journals
  • research presentations at international conferences and other academic institutions as well as to industry
  • exposure and experience in cutting-edge field robotics.

Skills and experience

You will need to have a high GPA (above 6) with experience and skills in a number of the following areas:

  • programming
  • algorithms
  • control
  • simulation
  • image processing
  • sensor fusion.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships


Contact the supervisor for more information.