Swarming and modular robotic locomotion are two disconnected behaviours that a group of small homogeneous robots can be used to achieve. The use of these two behaviours is a popular subject in robotics research involving search, rescue and exploration. However, they are rarely addressed as two behaviours that can coexist within a single robotic system. Here, we present a bio-inspired decision mechanism, which provides a convenient way for evolution to configure the conditions and timing of behaving as a swarm or a modular robot in an exploration scenario. The decision mechanism switches among two behaviours that are previously developed (a pheromone-based swarm control and a sinusoidal rectilinear modular robot movement). We use Genetic Programming (GP) to evolve the controller for these decisions, which acts without a centralized mechanism and with limited inter-robot communication. The results show that the proposed bio-inspired decision mechanism provides an evolvable medium for the GP to utilize in evolving an effective decision-making mechanism.
Kuyucu, T., Tanev, I., & Shimohara, K. (2013). Hormone-inspired behaviour switching for the control of collective robotic organisms. Robotics, 2(3), 165–184. https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics2030165