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Pages 155-162
First published 2 July 2012

Effects of Local Communication and Topology on Collective Movement Initiation

Brent E. Eskridge


Collective movement in autonomous systems, such as a team of robots, are frequently implemented using complex interaction rules and have significant communication requirements. These restrictions frequently relegate such systems to static, simplified environments. In contrast, collective movements in natural systems consistently occur in dynamic, complex environments in which significant communication is either impractical or impossible, and have been successfully modeled using simple, local interaction rules. In the work presented here, one such model is extended to include local communication and the spatial distribution of the group so that it can eventually be used as a guide for developing artificial systems capable of cohesive, collective movements. The extended model predicts that a reliance on local communication does not necessarily mean there will be a significant loss in the expected success of collective movement attempts if appropriate interaction rules are chosen. Furthermore, the model predicts that the addition of local communication, in conjunction with the topology of the group, results in higher expected success in attempting collective movements for individuals with central locations in the group as compared to individuals occupying edge locations.