Operators often face complex tasks and missions, such as picking up a large heavy item, or taking an X-ray of a vehicle that would be complicated for one robotic system to complete independently. Having multiple robotic systems capable of working together under the control of one operator, can simplify the performance of such complicated tasks and missions.

Technical Challenges

One operator may need to control multiple robotic platforms and make those robotic platforms perform semi-autonomous cooperative behaviors to complete a task. Sandia’s SMART (Sequential Modular Architecture for Robotics and Teleoperation) real-time control system enabled the development of such systems. The systems are able to maintain knowledge of their position and the position of the other systems, the location of the object, and work together to carry out complex tasks assigned to them by a single operator.


By coupling commercially available robotic platforms with Sandia’s patented SMART control system, we’ve developed robotic systems capable of performing complex, cooperative behaviors. Multiple, cooperative machines can perform a broader range of increasingly complex tasks enabling greater application of such technology. For example, in marsupial operations a larger robotic platform carries a smaller, more capable platform and delivers it to a location to perform a task that the larger robotic platform would not be able to perform and the smaller robotic platform would not be able to gain access to the area without the assistance of the larger platform.


  • Manipulator path planning
  • Mutual targeting
  • Force control
  • Integrated controls
  • Distributed controls
  • Navigation
  • Vehicle Path Planning
  • World Modeling
  • Localization
  • 6-degrees of freedom (DOF)+ High Reach Manipulator
  • Tool Design
  • Tetherless Operation


  • Cooperative monitoring
  • Flexible fixturing
  • Chaining, roping, and lassoing
  • Medium and Large package X-ray
  • Package stabilization
  • Dual grab and lift
  • Cooperative door/hood opening
  • Radio communication relay
  • Tripod deployment
  • Building Exploration and Mapping
  • Fire brigade and path clearing
  • Cooperative underbody inspection


  • View Multi-Robot Cooperative Behavior videos