Studying social animals will unlock the potential of swarm robotics

From flocks of birds to fish schools in the sea, or towering termite mounds, many social groups in nature exist together to survive and thrive. This cooperative behavior can be used by engineers as “bio-inspiration” to solve practical human problems, and by computer scientists studying swarm intelligence. “Swarm robotics” took off in the early 2000s, an early example being the “s-bot” (short for swarm-bot). This is a fully autonomous robot that can perform basic tasks including navigation and the grasping of objects, and which can self-assemble into chains to cross gaps or pull heavy loads. More recently, “TERMES” robots have…

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