The vision of the Freeform Robotics Research Group is to develop a general-purpose robotic swarm that can physically be connected to form any shape with different functionalities according to the environment and task. It will initiate a revolutionary way of the robotic system’s realization. The impact on the robotic society is comparable to the revolutionary impact of additive manufacturing technology on traditional processing industries. To realize it, several fundamental technical challenges are summarized as follows:
Cognition: Self-carried relative localization; Time/viewpoint-variant data fusioning; Multi-robot SLAM
Decision: Multi-task/agent planning in uncertain and dynamic environments; Optimal task-configuration matching;
Implementation: Flexible and robust connection mechanism; Decentralized control;
Most of the listed technical challenges also apply to most of the existing multi-robot systems.