Embodiment of Honeybee's Thermotaxis in a Mobile Robot Swarm

Daniela Kengyel, Thomas Schmickl, Heiko Hamann, Ronald Thenius, Karl Crailsheim
10th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL'09), Budapest, Hungary LNCS 5778 (2011), 69-76


Searching an area of interest based on environmental cues is a challenging benchmark task for an autonomous robot. It gets even harder to achieve if the goal is to aggregate a whole swarm of robots at such a target site after exhaustive exploration of the whole environment. When searching gas leakages or heat sources, swarm robotic approaches have been evaluated in recent years, which were, in part, inspired by biologically motivated control algorithms. Here we present a bio-inspired control program for swarm robots, which collectively explore the environment for a heat source to aggregate. Behaviours of young honeybees were embodied on a robot by adding thermosensors in `virtual antennae'. This enables the robot to perform thermotaxis, which was evaluated in a comparative study of an egoistic versus a collective swarm approach.