First published July 1 2016
Task Allocation in Foraging Robot Swarms: The Role of Information Sharing
Lenka Pitonakova, Richard Crowder, and Seth Bullock
Autonomous task allocation is a desirable feature of robot swarms that collect and deliver items in scenarios where congestion, caused by accumulated items or robots, can temporarily interfere with swarm behaviour. In such settings, self-regulation of workforce can prevent unnecessary energy consumption. We explore two types of self-regulation: non-social, where robots become idle upon experiencing congestion, and social, where robots broadcast information about congestion to their team mates in order to socially inhibit foraging. We show that while both types of self- regulation can lead to improved energy efficiency and increase the amount of resource collected, the speed with which information about congestion flows through a swarm affects the scalability of these algorithms.