Efficient quantitative assessment of robot swarms: coverage and targeting Lévy strategies

Siobhan Duncan, Gissell Estrada-Rodriguez, Jakub Stocek, Mauro Dragone, Patricia A. Vargas, Heiko Gimperlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Biologically inspired strategies have long been adapted to swarm robotic systems, including biased random walks, reaction to chemotactic cues and long-range coordination. In this paper we apply analysis tools developed for modeling biological systems, such as continuum descriptions, to the efficient quantitative characterization of robot swarms. As an illustration, both Brownian and Lévy strategies with a characteristic long-range movement are discussed. As a result we obtain computationally fast methods for the optimization of robot movement laws to achieve a prescribed collective behavior. We show how to compute performance metrics like coverage and hitting times, and illustrate the accuracy and efficiency of our approach for area coverage and search problems. Comparisons between the continuum model and robotic simulations confirm the quantitative agreement and speed up by a factor of over 100 of our approach. Results confirm and quantify the advantage of Lévy strategies over Brownian motion for search and area coverage problems in swarm robotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036006
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number3
Early online date30 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Lévy walks
  • coverage
  • diffusion equation
  • multi-agent systems
  • optimization
  • swarm robotics
  • target search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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