Abstract

Robot swarms are known to be robust to individual robot failures. However, a reduced swarm size causes a reduced swarm density. A too low swarm density may then decrease swarm performance, that should be compensated by adapting the individual behavior. Similarly, swarm behaviors can also be adapted to changes in the environment, such as dynamic light conditions. We study aggregation of swarm robots controlled by an extended variant of the BEECLUST algorithm. The robots are asked to aggregate at the brightest spot in their environment. Our approach efficiently adapts this swarm aggregation behavior to variability in swarm density and light conditions. First, each robot individually monitors its environment continuously by sampling its local swarm density and perceived light condition. Second, we exploit the collaboration of robots by letting them share features of these measurements with their neighbors by communication. In extensive robot swarm experiments with ten robots we validate our approach with dynamically changing swarm densities and under dynamic light conditions. We find an improved performance compared to robot swarms without communication and without awareness of the swarm density.

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