Swarm intelligence in bio-inspired robotics
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In this report, we have explored swarm intelligence through a box-pushing taskwith physical robots called e-pucks. Research on social insects has been presentedtogether with dierent ways of controlling autonomous robots, where combiningthis knowledge has been essential in our quest to make a biological plausible antretrieving system.Inspired by ants and behavior-based robotics, we have created the system CRABS.It is based on Brooks' subsumption architecture to control six dierent behaviors,from a xed input-output scheme. The system is designed to easily handle addingor removal of behavior layers. Behavior modules can also be used separately andported to other software or hardware platforms.During this project we came across several hardware and software challenges in-vestigating cooperative behavior. With the use of the simulation tool Webots, wewere able to determine e-pucks' capabilities, and through this knowledge able todesign and construct an articial food source. This operated as the box-item in thebox-pushing task.Based on two types of sensors and two actuators (wheels), we had a strategy toaccomplish the box-pushing task following the biological principles of social insects.The guidelines of the ant retrieving model made CRABS a self-organized systemthat given three or more e-pucks, will always succeed in retrieving the box back tothe wall. The most remarkable view on this accomplishment is that is done throughthe use of only stigmergy and positive/negative feedback.One of the things we've experienced throughout this thesis is that hardware is a morework demanding and inconsistent platform than your usual software simulation.Everything is not given, and although Webots provided helpful shortcuts, a lot oftime and hard work was put down in order to get the system up and running. Withthat being said, we are pleased that we took the hardware rout and were able totest and validate our system on physical robots.