Robotic Swarms - Command And Control Modals

In this article we will dive into Command And Control models for robotic swarms. A robotic swarm is a group of interlinked robots that work together to achieve a certain goal using collective and collaborative behavior. A swarm can consist of a couple or several thousand units, it all depends on the goal. Whereas some might recognize the word drone swarm from a military perspective it’s definitely not the only area in which drone swarms are used today. Take for example this video, where drones are used instead of fireworks at several events.

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Some might argue that in order for a group of robots to be called a robotic swarm they most utilize a certain degree of autonomy and decentralization. This might be true, but in this article we will also include command and control models that does not focus on decentralization. The modals can be applied to any kind of robot swarm and is not limited to Drone swarms like the above video.

To understand the word robot, lets take a look at what defines a generic robot. In most cases such consist of the following three elements.

  • Sensing: The robot is sensing its surrounding. This could be through a Camera or using a GPS.

The above three element of a generic robot can be scaled from a individual unit into a robotic swarm consisting of several thousand units as the swarm will sense, decide and act together.

Centralized Coordination

Swarm elements communicate with a centralized planner which coordinate all tasks.

Hierarchical Coordination

Swarm elements are controlled by squard level agents, who are in turn controlled by higher-level controllers.

Coordination By Consensus

All swarm elements communicate to one another and use voting or auction-based methods to converge on a solution.

Emergent Coordination

Coordination arises naturally by individual swarm elements reacting to one another, like in animal swarms. e.g. when birds fly together.

If you would like to know more about Robotics and Robotic Software Engineering then take a look at following article here on Vinsloev Academy where you will get a formal introduction to the Robotic Operation System(ROS)

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At Vinsloev Academy we strive to change the world by making software development skills available to all who wish to learn and evolve.