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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch043
Pages 264-271
First published 30 July 2014

Understanding the Role of Recruitment in Collective Robot Foraging

Lenka Pitonakova, Richard Crowder and Seth Bullock

Abstract (Excerpt)

When is it profitable for robots to forage collectively? Here we compare the ability of swarms of simulated bio-inspired robots to forage either collectively or individually. The conditions under which recruitment (where one robot alerts another to the location of a resource) is profitable are characterised, and explained in terms of the impact of three types of interference between robots (physical, environmental, and informational). Key factors determining swarm performance include resource abundance, the reliability of shared information, time limits on foraging, and the ability of robots to cope with congestion around discovered resources and around the base location. Additional experiments introducing odometry noise indicate that collective foragers are more susceptible to odometry error.