Shape Formation in Homogeneous Swarms Using Local Task Swapping

Hanlin Wang, Michael Rubenstein, Michael Rubenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The task of shape formation in robot swarms can often be reduced to two tasks-assigning goal locations to each robot and creating a collision-free path to that goal. In this article, we present a distributed algorithm that solves these tasks concurrently, enabling a swarm of robots to move and form a shape quickly and without collision. A user can specify a desired shape as an image, send that to a swarm of identically programmed robots, and the swarm will move all robots to goal locations within the desired shape. This algorithm was executed on a swarm of up to 1024 simulated robots and a swarm of 100 real robots, showing that it reliably converges to all robots forming the shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9000788
Pages (from-to)597-612
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Distributed robot systems
  • multirobot systems
  • swarms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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