Self-assembly and Self-repair during Motion with Modular Robots

Robert Peck, Jon Timmis, Andy Tyrrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-reconfigurable modular robots consist of multiple modular elements and have the potential to enable future autonomous systems to adapt themselves to handle unstructured environments, novel tasks, or damage to their constituent elements. This paper considers methods of self-assembly, bringing together robotic modules to form larger organism-like structures, and self-repair, removing and replacing faulty modules damaged by internal events or environmental phenomena, which allow group tasks for the multi-robot organism to continue to progress while assembly and repair take place. We showthat such “inmotion" strategies can successfully assemble and repair a range of structures. Previously developed self-assembly and self-repair strategies have required group tasks to be halted before they could begin. This paper finds that self-assembly and self-repair methods able to operate during group tasks can enable faster completion of the task than previous strategies, and provide reliability benefits in some circumstances. The practicality of these new methods is shown with physical hardware demonstrations. These results show the feasibility of assembling and repairing modular robots whilst other tasks are in progress.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1595
Pages (from-to)1-33
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 by the authors


  • dynamic self-assembly
  • dynamic self-repair
  • modular robots
  • self-assembly
  • self-repair
  • morphogenesis

Cite this