Optimal Swarm Formation for Odor Plume Finding
This paper presents an analytical approach to the problem of odor plume finding by a network of swarm robotic gas sensors, and finds an optimal configuration for them, given a set of assumptions. Considering cross-wind movement for the swarm, we found that the best spatial formation of robots in finding odor plumes is diagonal line configuration with equal distance between each pair of neighboring robots. We show that the distance between neighboring pairs in the line topology depends mainly on the wind speed and the environmental conditions, whereas, the number of robots and the swarm's crosswind movement distance do not show significant impact on optimal configurations. These solutions were analyzed and verified by simulations and experimentally validated in a reduced scale realistic environment using a set of mobile robots.