Animals as diverse as ants and humans are faced with the tasks of collecting, transporting or herding objects. Sheepdogs do this daily when they collect, herd, and maneuver flocks of sheep. Here, we adapt a shepherding algorithm inspired by sheepdogs to collect and transport objects using a robot. Our approach produces an effective robot collection process that autonomously adapts to changing environmental conditions and is robust to noise from various sources. We suggest that this biomimetic process could be implemented into suitable robots to perform collection and transport tasks that might include – for example – cleaning up objects in the environment, keeping animals away from sensitive areas or collecting and herding animals to a specific location. Furthermore, the feedback controlled interactions between the robot and objects which we study can be used to interrogate and understand the local and global interactions of real animal groups, thus offering a novel methodology of value to researchers studying collective animal behavior.
Robot Collection and Transport of Objects: A Biomimetic Process
Daniel Strömbom and Andrew J. King
Front. Robot. AI, 18 May 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2018.00048