Heterogeneity and Diversity for Resilience
in Multi-Robot Systems

Afternoon of Saturday, July 15, 2017
Workshop for RSS 2017

The timeliness of this workshop is granted by our aspirations to solve increasingly complex problems that require a distribution of distinct capabilities among robot team members. During the process of developing such solutions, heterogeneity and diversity become design features. However, we still lack the necessary analytical tools that help us understand the implications. By building on foundational concepts of network science, control theory, and security, we should aim at developing formal definitions of robustness and resilience that can be applied to networked multi-robot systems. The workshop’s scope of topics will also explore the various dimensions along which heterogeneity and diversity occur: behavioral, functional, morphological, temporal, and spatial.


The last five years have seen advances in flexible and rapid fabrication methods for monolithic, multi-material, and multi-scale manufacturing, which are enabling low cost, customized robots. The cost of communication and storage technologies are falling at 20-30% every year. Sensors, actuators, and processors are being integrated into a global information technology network, enabling a diverse array of robots and accompanying software and hardware infrastructure. However, such large teams of heterogeneous robots cannot be efficiently programmed individually, and yet, humans must be able to supervise, guide and coach such systems. More importantly we lack the understanding to design heterogeneous multi-robot systems and the tools to analyze the resiliency of such systems. Indeed, our understanding of diversity is quite limited.

Invited Speakers


This workshop will bring together experts who will address the key issues of designing heterogeneous robot systems, analyzing resiliency in multi-robot networks, and modeling diversity in robot-robot or human-robot teams. By building on foundational concepts of network science, security, and learning, the objective is to develop formal notions of robustness and resilience that can be applied to networked multi-robot systems. We believe that the resulting research will significantly impact the field of heterogeneous multi-robot systems.

Topics of Interest

  • Quantification of diversity, heterogeneity measures
  • Analysis of robustness and resilience in multi-robot systems
  • Resilient control / coordination strategies in single- and multi-robot systems
  • Privacy and security of data in large-scale robot networks
  • Perception and sensor fusion in heterogeneous robot teams
  • Communication and symbolic languages in heterogeneous teams
  • Morphological heterogeneity in modular robotic systems
  • Accidental heterogeneity caused by drift (SW) or wear-and-tear (HW)

Call for Contributions

We solicit extended abstracts for the workshop spotlight talks, 1 page in standard RSS 2-column format. The spotlight talks will feature short (roughly 5 minute) presentations, with the main goal of communicating new, potentially untested ideas that relate to the scope of this workshop. Spotlight speakers will aslo be asked to present posters during the coffee break. Important dates are as follows:
  • Extended abstract submission: May 22
  • Notification of acceptance: June 12
  • Final version due: June 30
Please e-mail submissions to:



Amanda Prorok

Calin Belta

Resilient Distributed Formal Synthesis

Shreyas Sundaram

Scalable algorithms for resilient distributed coordination in large-scale networks

Spotlight Talks

A. J. Smith, G. A. Hollinger - “Task Selection for Human-Robot Teams in Dynamic Environments”, PDF
P. Stankiewicz, S. Jenkins, G. Mullins, K. Wolfe, J. Moore - “Motion Planning for Marsupial Robotic Systems”, PDF
W. Thomason, R. A. Knepper - “Exploiting Heterogeneity in Robot Teams Through a Formalism of Capabilities”, PDF
K. Saulnier, D. Saldana, A. Prorok, G. J. Pappas, V. Kumar - “Resilient Flocking for Mobile Robot Teams”
N. R. Bell, T. Oates, C. Matuszek - “Discovering Morphology from Action Observation”, PDF
S. Mayya, M. Egerstedt - “Safe Open-Loop Strategies for Handling Intermittent Comms in Multi-Robot Systems”, PDF

Coffee Break & Poster Session

Hadas Kress-Gazit

Autonomous conflict resolution for robots working in a shared space

Sertac Karaman

Jonathan How

Adaptive mission planning for heterogeneous human-robot teams

Panel Discussion

Moderated by Magnus Egerstedt and Vijay Kumar


Dr. Amanda Prorok
University of Pennsylvania
Prof. Magnus Egerstedt
Georgia Institute of Technology
Prof. Vijay Kumar
University of Pennsylvania