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A Stigmergic Cooperative Multi-Robot Control Architecture

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5 Author(s)

In nature, there are numerous examples of complex architectures constructed by relatively simple insects, such as termites and wasps, which cooperatively assemble their nests. A prototype cooperative multi-robot control architecture which may be suitable for the eventual construction of large space structures has been developed which emulates this biological model. Actions of each of the autonomous robotic construction agents are only indirectly coordinated, thus mimicking the distributed construction processes of various social insects. The robotic construction agents perform their primary duties srigmergically, i.e., without direct inter-agent communication and without a preprogrammed global blueprint of the final design. Communication and coordination between individual agents occurs indirectly through the sensed modifications that each agent makes to the structure. The global stigmergic building algorithm prototyped during the initial research assumes that the robotic builders only perceive the current state of the structure under construction. Simulation studies have established that an idealized form of the proposed architecture was indeed capable of producing representative large space structures with autonomous robots. This paper will explore the construction simulations in order to illustrate the multi-robot control architecture.

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