A Multiple Pheromone Communication System for Swarm Intelligence

Liu, Tian, Sun, Xuelong, Hu, Cheng , Fu, Qinbing and Yue, Shigang (2021) A Multiple Pheromone Communication System for Swarm Intelligence. IEEE Access, 9 . ISSN 2169-3536

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3124386

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A Multiple Pheromone Communication System for Swarm Intelligence
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Abstract

Pheromones are chemical substances essential for communication among social insects.
In the application of swarm intelligence to real micro mobile robots, the deployment of a single virtual
pheromone has emerged recently as a powerful real-time method for indirect communication. However,
these studies usually exploit only one kind of pheromones in their task, neglecting the crucial fact that in
the world of real insects, multiple pheromones play important roles in shaping stigmergic behaviors such
as foraging or nest building. To explore the multiple pheromones mechanism which enable robots to solve
complex collective tasks efficiently, we introduce an artificial multiple pheromone system (ColCOSΦ) to
support swarm intelligence research by enabling multiple robots to deploy and react to multiple pheromones
simultaneously. The proposed system ColCOSΦ uses optical signals to emulate different evaporating
chemical substances i.e. pheromones. These emulated pheromones are represented by trails displayed on a
wide LCD display screen positioned horizontally, on which multiple miniature robots can move freely. The
color sensors beneath the robots can detect and identify lingering "pheromones" on the screen. Meanwhile,
the release of any pheromone from each robot is enabled by monitoring its positional information over time
with an overhead camera. No other communication methods apart from virtual pheromones are employed in
this system. Two case studies have been carried out which have verified the feasibility and effectiveness of
the proposed system in achieving complex swarm tasks as empowered by multiple pheromones. This novel
platform is a timely and powerful tool for research into swarm intelligence.

Keywords:Virtual pheromones, multiple pheromones, bio-inspired, swarm intelligence, micro mobile robots, swarm insects
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
H Engineering > H671 Robotics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:47216
Deposited On:08 Dec 2021 16:08

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