This chapter presents decentralized control algorithms for composing formations of swarm robots. The robots are connected by communication networks. They initially do not have control program to compose formations. Control programs that implement our algorithm are introduced later from outside as mobile software agents. Our controlling algorithm is based on the pheromone communication of social insects such as ants. We have implemented the ant and the pheromone as mobile software agents. Ant agents control the robots. Each ant agent has partial information about the formation it is supposed to compose. The partial information consists of relative locations with neighbor robots that are cooperatively composing the formation. Once the ant agent detects an idle robot, it occupies that robot and generates the pheromone agent to attract other ant agents to the location for neighbor robots. Then the pheromone agent repeatedly migrates to other robots to diffuse attracting information. Once the pheromone agent reaches the robot with an ant agent, the ant agent migrates to the robot closest to the location pointed by the pheromone agent and then drives the robot to the location. We have implemented simulators based on our algorithm and conducted experiments to demonstrate the feasibility of our approach.
Part of the book: Multi-Agent Systems