Internet of Robotic Things

Investigating algorithms and applications for Internet of Things and Robotic systems
Description of the Project: 

The Internet-of-Robotic-Things (IoRT) brings together autonomous robotic systems with the Internet of Things (IoT) vision of sensors and smart objects pervasively embedded in everyday environments [1-4]. This merge can enable novel applications in almost every sector where cooperation between robots and IoT technology can be imagined. Early signs of this convergence are in network robot systems [5], robot ecologies [6], or in approaches such as cloud robotics [7]. However, progress in our ability to develop integrated systems is still fragmented and limited to few application domains, such as industrial manufacturing [8], and ambient assisted living (AAL) scenarios [9].

In order to unlock the potential of IoRT solutions, a number of fundamental technological and scientific challenges must be tackled to address the complexity, deep conflicts and also the security, safety and privacy concerns brought about by multiple robotic things sensing, taking autonomous decisions, and moving and acting within the same environment.

I am interested in supervising projects in this general area, especially projects addressing open problems in topics such as: 

  • Efficient data collection in underwater IoRT systems combining autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) with low-power and low-bandwidth sensor networks.
  • Cloud-based robotic platforms for the dynamic deployment and configuration of collective of heterogeneous robotic things
  • Cybersecurity for IoRT systems, including blockchain mechanisms used to secure  cooperation and sharing of information among collective of robots
Project number: 
First Supervisor: 
Heriot-Watt University
First supervisor university: 
Heriot-Watt University
Essential skills and knowledge: 
Strong programming skills; ability to work independently
Desirable skills and knowledge: 
Knowledge of multi-agent and multi-robot systems.

[1] P. Simoens, M. Dragone, A. Saffiotti, The Internet of Robotic Things: A review of concept, added value and applications, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems 15 (1), 1729881418759424

[2] Vermesan, O, A Bröring, E Tragos, M Serrano, D Bacciu, S Chessa, C Gallicchio, M. Dragone, et al. 2017. “Internet of Robotic Things : Converging Sensing/actuating, Hypoconnectivity, Artificial Intelligence and IoT Platforms.” In Cognitive Hyperconnected Digital Transformation : Internet of Things Intelligence Evolution, 1–35.

[3] M. Dragone, Combining IoT, robotics and AI: where is the added value, where are the challenges, workshop at the European Robotics Forum 2017, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, March 24,

[4] M. Dragone, Combining IoT and Intelligent Robotics, challenges and opportunities, workshop at IoT Week 2017, Geneva, June 7,

[5] Sanfeliu A, Hagita N and Saffiotti A. Network robot systems, Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2008; 56(10): 793–797.

[6] Saffiotti A, Broxvall M, Gritti M et al. The PEIS-ecology project: vision and results. In Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2008. IROS 2008. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on. IEEE, pp. 2329–2335

[7] Hu G, Tay WP and Wen Y. Cloud robotics: architecture, challenges and applications. IEEE network 2012; 26(3).

[8] Michalos G, Makris S, Aivaliotis P et al. Autonomous production systems using open architectures and mobile robotic structures. Procedia CIRP 2015; 28: 119–124.

[9] M. Dragone, et. al, A cognitive robotic ecology approach to self-configuring and evolving AAL systems. Eng. Appl. Artif. Intell. 45, C (October 2015), 269-280.