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A swarm of robots with the behavior of bees has been created


Scientists at the University of Barcelona have discovered that honeybees exhibit group behavior and decision making, which is useful for creating swarming robots. Research results published on the arXiv preprint server.

35 kilobots were designed and built, equipped with tiny legs, LED lights, an infrared light receiver, and programmed to perform dance moves. Each bot was tasked with finding a potential colony nesting site and then reaching a consensus among the other bots on the optimal location.

The bot’s behavior was modeled after scout bees from the kingdom Apis mellifera (honey bees). When a scout spots a potential hive site, it performs a “dance” – a series of rapid swaying movements, forming a figure roughly resembling a figure eight. The dance provides information about the distance and direction to a potential nesting site or the type and size of food supply.

Experiments show that a swarm of kilobots can collectively make consensus decisions in a decentralized manner, like honey bees, and choose the best path to a goal. In this way, bots can communicate with each other, tracking disease processes or body abnormalities in patients, or go on search and rescue missions that are risky for humans.

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