Division of Labor in a Swarm of Autonomous Underwater Robots by Improved Partitioning Social Inhibition

Payam Zahadat, Thomas Schmickl
Adaptive Behavior 24(2) (2016), 87-101


In this paper, a distributed algorithm for adaptive task allocation and adaptable
partitioning of a swarm into different work-groups is proposed and used in a swarm
of underwater robots. The algorithm is based on local interactions of agents and
is inspired by honeybee age-polyethism. It is adaptive to changes in the swarm size
(workforce) and relative demands (workload) for different tasks and it limits the
number of switchings of agents between different tasks enabling specialization of
agents. The preliminary version of the algorithm was introduced in the past. Here a
fully decentralized version of the algorithm is proposed that improves the previous
version by removing the need to global information. The algorithm is successfully
implemented in swarms of physically-embodied underwater robots while the swarm
size and the demands for the tasks change over the course of the experiments.


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