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An interactive method for controlling group size in multiple mobile robot systems

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2 Author(s)
Holland, O. ; Intelligent Autonomous Syst. Eng. Lab., Univ. of the West of England, Bristol, UK ; Melhuish, C.

This paper proposes a method of controlling group size in multi-robot systems with very limited computational abilities, such as micro- or nano-robots. The method is loosely modelled on the signalling behaviour of species such as crickets, frogs, and fireflies, where males attract females by making periodic calls or light flashes. A characteristic of such behaviour is that groups of animals broadcast their signals in synchrony, forming a chorus. In this paper, synchrony is used in conjunction with random deviations from synchrony in order to enable each individual to estimate the size of the group over a period of time; since an individual will approach a group of below the required size, and leave a group which is above that size, group size should remain around the target value. Results from simulations are presented which show that the mechanism is feasible. The development of a robotic system to use this method is described

Published in:

Advanced Robotics, 1997. ICAR '97. Proceedings., 8th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

7-9 Jul 1997