sis 16(10): e3

Research Article

BuPiGo: An Open and Extensible Platform for Visually-Guided Swarm Robots

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/eai.3-12-2015.2262522,
        author={Andrew Vardy and Shiell Nicholi},
        title={BuPiGo: An Open and Extensible Platform for Visually-Guided Swarm Robots},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Scalable Information Systems},
        keywords={swarm robotics, visual homing, robotics},
  • Andrew Vardy
    Shiell Nicholi
    Year: 2016
    BuPiGo: An Open and Extensible Platform for Visually-Guided Swarm Robots
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.3-12-2015.2262522
Andrew Vardy1,*, Shiell Nicholi1
  • 1: Memorial University
*Contact email:


The purpose of this paper is to articulate the need for an open, extensible robot platform to support swarm robotic research using vision and to propose one such platform. The platform proposed here is intended for research which trades smaller population size with more sophisticated individual robot capabilities. The validation of proposed swarm robotic algorithms using real-world hardware is essential, but is fraught with difficulty due to the expense and complexity of developing and maintaining multiple operational units. A number of open hardware platforms have been proposed, although most prioritize small size and low cost over advanced capabilities such as vision. We are interested in a number of different research directions which utilize vision as a core capability and find the existing open hardware platforms to be insufficient (and existing commercial platforms too expensive). In this paper we describe a set of desirable characteristics for an open, extensible visually-guided robot platform. We then present our solution, the BuPiGo (pronounced buppy-go), describing the hardware itself and a model developed for simulation purposes. We also present some initial results on using the BuPiGo for visual homing---an individual navigation task that we hope to exploit for swarm tasks in the future.