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Towards energy optimization: Emergent task allocation in a swarm of foraging robots

Lihua Dou; Wenguo Liu, Wenguo; Winfield, Alan F.T.; Jin Sa, Jin; Jie Chen, Jie


Lihua Dou

Wenguo Wenguo Liu

Jin Jin Sa

Jenny Chen
Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management


This article presents a simple adaptation mechanism to automatically adjust the ratio of foragers to resters (division of labor) in a swarm of foraging robots and hence maximize the net energy income to the swarm. Three adaptation rules are introduced based on local sensing and communications. Individual robots use internal cues (successful food retrieval), environmental cues (collisions with team-mates while searching for food) and social cues (team-mate success in food retrieval) to dynamically vary the time spent foraging or resting. Simulation results show that the swarm demonstrates successful adaptive emergent division of labor and robustness to environmental change (in food source density), and we observe that robots need to cooperate more when food is scarce. Furthermore, the adaptation mechanism is able to guide the swarm towards energy optimization despite the limited sensing and communication abilities of the individual robots and the simple social interaction rules. The swarm also exhibits the capacity to collectively perceive environmental changes; a capacity that can only be observed at a group level and cannot be deduced from individual robots. Copyright © 2007 International Society for Adaptive Behavior.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2007
Journal Adaptive Behavior
Print ISSN 1059-7123
Electronic ISSN 1741-2633
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 289-305
APA6 Citation Lihua Dou, , Jin Sa, , Wenguo Liu, , Wenguo Liu, W., Winfield, A. F., Jin Sa, J., …Lihua Dou, L. (2007). Towards energy optimization: Emergent task allocation in a swarm of foraging robots. Adaptive Behavior, 15(3), 289-305.
Keywords swarm foraging, swarm robotics, task allocation, emergent division of labor
Publisher URL http:\\\10.1177/1059712307082088