Swarm Robotics

Background

The swarm projects in focus vary from swarm intelligence to evolutionary swarm projects. Further, after creation of our new ChIRP robot, most experiments are conducted on the ChIRP robot swarm.

Ongoing Projects

ChIRP Robot

Real swarm robot experiments are cost prohibitive --- bearing in mind the large number of robots required. Some labs thus resort to experimenting with swarms of only a few robots, limiting the complexity of the functionality that may be tested and the true potential of swarm robots. Other labs resort to simpler swarm robots which due to the limited functionality of the robots themselves, also limit the actions that may be tested. The ChIRP robot project was etablised to meet the need for a swarm robot that can provide generality at a low cost as well as tailoring to a specific task so as to reap many of the benefits of both simpler and the more advanced robots.

The key issues driving the design of the ChIRP robot include availability and versatility as well as ease of use in an experimental setting. The term availability is interpreted as physically available as well as available to research labs with limited resources e.g. arena limitations, robot purchase limitations. Further, a versatile robot needs to be tunable to the research agenda without conflicting with the availability requirements.

The ChIRP robot design consists of an extendible simplified platform offering the basic swarm features i.e.\ differential wheels, IR sensors and smaller size, as well as providing extension capabilities. Extensions (including both electronic and mechanical features) enable an advanced specialised swarm robot to be tailored to the needs of a given research agenda.

ChIRP is fully open source and all software and hardware source files may be found at http://chirp.idi.ntnu.no together with demonstrations illustrating ChIRP in both the simplified and extended forms.

Pauline Haddow

Jean-marc Montanier

Christian Skjetne

Evolutionary Swarm Robots in open Environments

The challenge faced by this project is that robots are used in open environments which remain unknown until their deployment. Since operational conditions can’t be predicted beforehand, on-line learning algorithms must be used to design behaviors. In the use of large groups of robots, multiple considerations have to be taken into account such as reduced communication abilities, small memory storage, small computational power. In this context, on-line learning algorithms must be distributed among robots as central control is not an option.

The project has addressed the problem of maintaining swarm integrity (i.e. to maximize the number of "active" robots). The problem of environment-driven distributed evolutionary adaptation (EDEA) has been introduced and defined. An algorithm to solve this problem was introduced. The dynamics of the algorithm under various environmental conditions have been studied. In particular: evolutionary dynamics and convergence to stable behaviors, robustness to environmental changes and evolution of altruistic behavior in adversarial environment.

Currently the project is focussed on the the evolution of self-aggregating behaviours in the context of EDEA problems. More specifically, the focus is given to robots able to self-aggregate in order to form 2D structures. In this context, two key aspects are studied: - the analysis of resulting evolutionary activity, and eventual design of a tailored algorithm - the design of elementary gripping extension for the ChIRP robot

Jean-marc montanier

Pauline C Haddow

Swarm robot solutions for ITS Systems

This is an ongoing masters project.

Christian Skjetne

Pauline Haddow

Jo Skjermo

Improving Communication in a Robotic Swarm

This is an ongoing masters project.

Anders Rye

Pauline C Haddow

Swarm-masters 1

This is an ongoing masters project

Jean-marc montanier

Pauline Haddow

Swarm-masters 2

This is an ongoing masters project

Jean-marc Montanier

Pauline Haddow

Swarm masters 3

This is an ongoing masters project

Keith Downing

Completed Phd/Masters Thesis

A Decentralized Architecture Using the Null-Space-Based Behavioral Control For Multi-Agent Systems with Application to Border Patrolling, Search and Retrieval, Masters Thesis, Håvard Schei (2013)

ChirpSim: A prototype of a Simulator for the Chirp Swarm Robot, Masters thesis, Robert Versvik (2013)

Swarm intelligence in Swarm Robots, Masters thesis, Jannik Berg and Camilla Haukenes Karud (2012)

Relevant Publications (recent)

The ChIRP Robot: a Versatile Swarm Robot Platform, Christian Skjetne, Pauline C Haddow, Anders Rye, Håvard Schei and Jean-marc Montanier, submitted to RITA 2013.

Evolution of Altruism and Spatial Dispersion: an Artificial Evolutionary Ecology Approach, Jean-marc Montanier and Nicolas Bredeche, To appear in: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL'13), September 2013

The ChIRP, a Cheap Interchangeable Robotic Platform for Swarm Robotics, Christian Skjetne, Anders Rye, Havard Schei, Jean-Marc Montanier and Pauline Haddow, in the collective behaviours and social dynamics workshop at ECAL 2013

From Self-adaptive Collective Robotics to Artificial Evolutionary Ecology (and back). N. Bredeche, J.M. Montanier, in Collective behaviours and social dynamics workshop at ECAL 2013

Evolution of Altruism: Spatial Dispersion and Consumption Strategies, Montanier, Jean-Marc, and Bredeche, Nicolas in proceedings of GECCO 2013