Considering the befitting potential of communication for CPS applications, following are a few questions that we focus on at the Research Days 2019.

  • Which communication technologies can be used for explicit and implicit CPS swarm communication (including terrestrial, aerial, aquatic CPS applications)
  • How important is connectivity for swarming?
    • Distributed vs centralized vs decentralized
    • How could every member be autonomous in terms of connectivity?
  • What are the communication parameters a CPS swarm designer needs to take care of when choosing a communication technology?
  • How to standardize CPS data structures and define protocols to enable a unified CPS communication language compatible for all potential available communication technologies?
  • What are the potential research challenges that need to addressed to use communication for CPS swarm related to autonomy?


Event in Google calendar (tbd)

Tuesday, July 9 Wednesday, July 10 Thursday, July 11
08:45 Wrap up Wrap up
09:00 Registration and coffee Sofie Pollin: Sense and Avoid Technology for enabling Swarms Alcherio Martinoli: Communication in Swarms: Forms, Strengths, and Limitations
09:30 Opening and warm-up round
10:00 Heiko Hamann: Together Everyone Achieves More! On Swarm Performance and Interference Coffee break Coffee break
10:30 Group work 2: Communication technologies for CPS swarms Group work 3: Open research topics & proposal ideas
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Group work 1: Connectivity for swarming Group work presentation and discussion Group work presentation and discussion
12:30 Lunch Lunch Lunch
13:30 Group work presentation and discussion Raheeb Muzaffar: Communication in Drones Workshop: Synchronization | Spiderinos
14:15 Andreas Kercek: Funding Opportunities

Coffee break
14:30 CPSwarm project: Communication considered for CPS swarms
14:45 Prepare for social event Workshop: Synchronization| Spiderinos
15:15 Coffee break
15:30 Social event Closing
15:45 Drone Demo
17:15 John Baras: Direct and Indirect Communications in Swarms and Their Effects
Group Works

Keynote Sessions

Heiko Hamann

University of Lübeck, Institute of Computer Engineering

“Together Everyone Achieves More! On Swarm Performance and Interference”

Together we achieve more! Is that also true for swarms? Physical and communication interference but also contention can decrease group and swarm performance. We have a look on how to determine good group sizes and on how to make scalability robust. The scalability properties of robot swarms have astonishing similarities to those of distributed computing, communication networks, and even natural systems. With a better understanding of how group performance scales with group size, we can maybe develop more efficient systems. We end by studying an approach to develop swarm systems that scale robustly.

Heiko Hamann received his doctorate in engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany in 2008. He did his postdoctoral training in modular robotics and evolutionary robotics at the Zoology department of the University of Graz, Austria. From 2013 to 2017 he was assistant professor of swarm robotics at the University of Paderborn, Germany. Since 2017 he is full professor for service robotics at the University of Lübeck, Germany. His main research interests are swarm robotics, evolutionary robotics, and modeling of complex systems.

Sofie Pollin

KU Leuven, Department Elektrotechniek (ESAT)

“Sense and Avoid Technology for enabling Swarms”

Autonomous drones are becoming a reality, and we will see swarms of drones probably before the first truly autonomous car. To enable this, drones need to be aware of each other and their environment. We have been working on the SESAR project PercEvite, aiming to create sense and avoid technology for small autonomous drones. In this talk, I will discuss the state of the art with respect to sense and avoid technology and how to enable it on a range of vehicles: from small lightweight drones to manned aircrafts even.

Sofie Pollin is associate professor at KU Leuven and active in the domain of wireless communication for drones for more than 5 years now. She has experience with a wide range of technologies and tested them all on drones (from Wi-Fi to 5G), and is especially focused on enabling autonomous and lightweight drones for civilian applications.

Alcherio Martinoli

EPFL, Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory

“Communication in Swarms: Forms, Strengths, and Limitations “

Technological advances in communication, embedded computing, energy storage, sensors and actuators enable an increasingly higher number of potential applications for swarms of robots. In order to be competitive, such swarm systems should show a certain degree of coordination capability and scalability in terms of number of nodes. To achieve such properties, the choice (or design) of the inter-node communication forms (e.g., indirect, direct, broadcast, peer-to-peer) plays a key role. However, physical channels and protocols for communication cannot be chosen independently from other system design choices, in particular when the individual robotic nodes are constrained in their resources by cost, volume, or mass considerations imposed by the targeted application and/or the specific environment in which they have to operate. In this talk, I will leverage a few case studies we carried out in our laboratory and results from the literature to illustrate forms of communication implemented up to date in physical robotic swarms, analyze their strength and limitations, and propose some practical lessons that we learned over more than twenty years of research to address the communication problems in distributed robotic systems.

Alcherio Martinoli has a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He is currently an Associate Professor at EPFL, leading the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory. Before joining EPFL he carried out research activities at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering of the ETHZ, at the Institute of Industrial Automation of the Spanish Research Council in Madrid, Spain, and at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A. His research interests focus on methods to design, control, model, and optimize distributed cyber-physical systems, including multi-robot systems, sensor and actuator networks, and intelligent vehicles.


John Baras

Institute for Systems Research, University of Maryland, USA

“Direct and Indirect Communications in Swarms and Their Effects”

We describe our three dynamically coevolving multigraph model of networked systems and swarms. We demonstrate it use to find effective communication patterns and organization to speed up distributed decision-making and actions in swarms. We investigate the significance of the resulting patterns regarding resilience and robustness in swarm coordination. We show how direct and indirect communications can lead to simple and efficient coordination and control strategies. We compare with communication patterns in biology from birds and ants. We consider and solve inverse problems whereby we determine the communication and collaboration patterns of swarms by discovering symmetries and invariances in their trajectories.

John S. Baras is a Distinguished University Professor and holds the endowed Lockheed Martin Chair in Systems Engineering at the Institute for Systems Research and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Maryland College Park. Major honors and awards include the 1980 George Axelby Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society, the 2006 Leonard Abraham Prize from the IEEE Communications Society, the 2017 IEEE Simon Ramo Medal, the 2017 AACC Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award., and the 2018 AIAA Aerospace Communications Award. In June of 2018 he was awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa by his alma mater the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

Raheeb Muzaffar

Lakeside Labs, Klagenfurt, Austria

“Communication in Drones”

The commercial market for applications enabled by small drones is growing rapidly. Such applications pose different communication constraints, such as desired throughput, delay tolerance, range, and connectivity, which may be hard to fulfill in mobile aerial networks. We present an application-layer rate-adaptive multicast video streaming framework over an aerial testbed of IEEE 802.11a ad-hoc network. We then evaluate the performance of 802.11ac – a newer addition to the 802.11 family, for an aerial mesh network. Furthermore, we present an Android-based cellular drone measurement tool and evaluate LTE performance for drone networks. Lastly, we introduce the forthcoming 5G playground Carinthia and our “Communication in Swarms” use case.

Raheeb Muzaffar holds an Erasmus-Mundus doctoral degree from University of Klagenfurt, Austria and Queen Mary University of London, UK and an MS from the National University of Science and Technology in Pakistan. He has more than ten years of experience in various ICT jobs. Since 2016, he has been working with Lakeside Labs GmbH, Klagenfurt, Austria. His research interests include wireless communication and networked systems, wireless multimedia communication for drones, drone navigation, and analysis of mission oriented drone applications.

Andreas Kercek

Lakeside Labs, Klagenfurt, Austria

“Funding Opportunities”

Selection of appropriate funding instruments for research projects is a critical task and often vital for successful commencement and accomplishment of R&D actions. This talk focusses on presenting current and future funding opportunities on national (Esp. Austria), cross-national and European level. As far as available, we will also present information on the new European frame programme “Horizon Europe” (successor of Horizon 2020). The goal of the talk is also to give funding directions for project ideas arising during the course of this year’s Research Days.

Andreas Kercek has a PhD in Astrophysics. After two years of basic research he held several management positions in research and industry and co-founded two companies. Since 2013 he is working for Lakeside Labs as a research manager where one of his major responsiblities is the definition and acquisition of new research projects.

Agata Barciś

University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria

“Synchronization “

The workshop will shortly introduce how did we change Balboa robots from Pololu into a highly capable swarm robotic platform and what did we do to make our work with multiple robots easier. The participants will have a chance to implement a basic synchronization algorithm and represent the internal state of the robot with movement and colorful LEDs.

Agata Barciś holds a master degree in Control Engineering and Robotics from Wrocław University of Science and Technology. Currently she is a PhD student at the University of Klagenfurt. Her work is focused on time coordination and swarming for robotic applications.

Midhat Jdeed

University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria

“Spiderino Robot Workshop “

Spiderino is a low-cost research robot based on the small size of the Hexbug Spider toy. Spiderino is designed to be used in education and swarm research. The participants in this workshop will be introduced to the robot architecture, and they will learn how to perform simple programming tasks with Spiderino.​

Midhat Jdeed holds a master’s degree in information and communications engineering from the Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt in Austria. He is currently PhD Student and his interests include machine learning and applications of swarm robotics.