Evolving Self-Organizing Behaviors for a Swarm-Bot
Marco Dorigo, Vito Trianni, Erol Şahin, Roderich Groß, Thomas H. Labella, Gianluca Baldassarre, Stefano Nolfi, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Francesco Mondada and Dario Floreano, et al.
AUTONOMOUS ROBOTS Volume 17, Numbers 2-3, 223-245, doi: 10.1023/B:AURO.0000033973.24945.f3
In this paper, we introduce a self-assembling and self-organizing artifact, called a swarm-bot, composed of a swarm of s-bots, mobile robots with the ability to connect to and to disconnect from each other. We discuss the challenges involved in controlling a swarm-bot and address the problem of synthesizing controllers for the swarm-bot using artificial evolution. Specifically, we study aggregation and coordinated motion of the swarm-bot using a physics-based simulation of the system. Experiments, using a simplified simulation model of the s-bots, show that evolution can discover simple but effective controllers for both the aggregation and the coordinated motion of the swarm-bot. Analysis of the evolved controllers shows that they have properties of scalability, that is, they continue to be effective for larger group sizes, and of generality, that is, they produce similar behaviors for configurations different from those they were originally evolved for. The portability of the evolved controllers to real s-bots is tested using a detailed simulation model which has been validated against the real s-bots in a companion paper in this same special issue.