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Emergent Behavior Characterization of an Ant-Inspired, Multiple-Pheromone-Driven Robot Swarm

[+] Author Affiliations
Adam M. Schroeder, Marwan H. Mohamed, Brian P. Trease

University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Paper No. DETC2017-67951, pp. V006T10A015; 8 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 13th International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5820-2
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Inspired by chemotactic phenomena observed in ants where individual ants can distinguish their own pheromone from others in their colony, a novel control paradigm for a robot swarm is introduced where each agent deposits an agent-specific, diffusive and evaporative pheromone. Agent’s are repulsed by the pheromone and execute a biased random walk from high-concentration to low-concentration areas. The biased random walk is Lévy flight which causes ‘anomalous diffusion’ by the agents. The ratio of an agent’s sensitivity to its own pheromone compared to other ant’s pheromones, called ‘vanity’, is varied and swarm behavior is characterized using general metrics, e.g. mean squared displacement, and application-specific metrics.

It was found that varying the agent vanity resulted in smooth trends in the general behavior metrics, but bifurcations appeared in the application-specific, area coverage metrics. This control scheme is also compared to a scheme that uses a global, common pheromone.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Robots



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