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'honeybee' Robots Replicate Swarm Behavior


Colias robots swarming.

Scientists involved with the Colias project say their open-platform system will make it more feasible for researchers to replicate swarm activity in a large number of robots.

Credit: University of Lincoln

A new open-platform system will make it more feasible and economical for researchers to replicate swarm behavior in a large number of robots, according to scientists involved with the Colias project.

Colias, named after a genus of butterfly, can be used to investigate collective behaviors and swarm applications. The autonomous robot is small and fast, and can be replicated in large numbers for fast-paced swarm operations over large areas.

The team, led by the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom along with Tsinghua University in China, say they have replicated a honeybee swarm. Long-range infrared proximity sensors enable the robot to communicate with its direct neighbors at a range of 0.5 cm to two meters, while three short-range sensors integrated with an independent processor enables the robots to spot obstacles.

"The decentralized control of robotic swarms can be achieved by providing well-defined interaction rules for each individual robot," says Lincoln School of Computer Science's Farshad Arvin. "Colias has been used in a bio-inspired scenario, showing that it is extremely responsive to being used to investigate collective behaviors."

From University of Lincoln
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