A University of Maryland researcher is developing multi-robot systems to solve “3D” problems—tasks that are dull, dirty or dangerous for humans—ranging from analyzing every square inch of a farm field to determine the precise amount of fertilizer needed to checking each rivet, beam and girder of a bridge for safety.

Computer science Assistant Professor Pratap Tokekar is developing novel approaches to make these groups of robots less prone to failure if one member drops out, coordinating with experts in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the Maryland Robotics Center.

“The big research program that my group tries to address is, how can a team of robots coordinate with each other so that the team is performing better than the individual?” he said.