SWARM-BOT: a New Distributed Robotic Concept
The swarm intelligence paradigm has proven to have very interesting properties such as robustness, flexibility and ability to solve complex problems exploiting parallelism and self-organization. Several robotics implementations of this paradigm confirm that these properties can be exploited by the control of a population of physically independent mobile robots. We present a new robotic concept called swarmbot where the collective interaction exploited by the swarm intelligence mechanism goes beyond the control layer and is extended at the physical level. This implies the addition of new mechanical functionalities on the single robot, together with new electronics and software to manage it. These new functionalities, even if not directly related with mobility and navigation, allows to address complex mobile robotics problems, such as extreme all-terrain exploration. This performance is achieved by exploiting the swarm intelligence mechanism. We finally show that we can simulate and implement this new concept, providing the necessary tools to open new directions in swarm intelligence research.