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Dynamic Self-repair

Dynamic Self-repair, also described as self-repair during continuous motion, is a method for repairing a moving structure of modular robots under development by Robert H. Peck, accompanied by Jon Timmis and Andy M. Tyrrell. It is considered that by remaining in their collective motion while a failed module is removed and replaced by a spare unit, a group of modular robots utilising dynamic self-repair may enjoy speed advantages in time critical situations. The principles behind self-repair during continuous motion may also prove valuable in situations where a group of modular robots are, for whatever reason, unable to stop their group motion to perform self-repair.

The video included demonstrates the three options available to a group of modular ones when one of their number suffers a lethal failure, shown here by turning red. Firstly the group can attempt fault masking, ignoring the failure of the unit and attempting to proceed normally, this is expected to significantly retard 2D group motion and to severely interfere with 3D group motion. Secondly they may attempt static self-repair as performed previously with L.Murray's Fault Tolerant Morphogenesis in Self-reconfigurable Modular Robotic Systems (PhD Thesis, University of York, 2013) or in the Mergeable Nervous Systems for Robots project by N.Mathews et al. (Nature communications, 2017, Vol.8). The third example shows a dynamic self-repair strategy, as presently under development. The video depicts a simplified 2D scenario with the planned Omni-Pi-tent platform, note the forms of motion enabled by omni-directional motion and necessity of genderless docking with single-sided disconnection. More complex scenarios are planned later in the project once thorough testing of the 2D scenario has been performed. This video is not a simulation, but a visualisation of the principles involved. Simulation and hardware videos will be posted when available.

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