Monday, 3 January 2011

Review: Swarm Robotics: From Sources of Inspiration to Domains of Application

As the first reviewed article I've chosen "'Sahin, Erol - Swarm Robotics" because it is a nice overview of the technology and tries do define swarm robotics as an area of robotics with very clear boundaries and goals.

The first part of the article is about motivation for studies, highlighting the three most praised characteristics of swarm systems, that are:
  • Robustness;
  • Flexibility;
  • Scalability.
After that comes a brief explanation about the ambitions of the work, saying it not pretend to be a formal definition of the area, but a guideline for future developments. Setting a nice statement as starting point:
"Swarm robotics is the study of how large number of relatively simple physically embodied agents can be designed such that a desired collective behavior emerges from the local interactions among agents and between the agents and the environment."

Then going through some points about autonomous robots such as:

  • Large number of robots;
  • Few homogenous groups of robots;
  • Relatively incapable or inefficient robots;
  • Robots with local sensing and communication capabilities.
The following topic is about sources of inspiration for swarm robotics and collective behavior in general, most of then biological with some very informative content about bacterial mechanisms and so on.

Finally some possible applications where swarms are highly recommended:

  • Tasks that cover a region;
  • Tasks that are too dangerous;
  • Tasks that scale-up or scale-down in time;
  • Tasks that require redundancy.
Ref: The article site at Springer Link (it can be downloaded under certain universities proxys)