Collective Construction by Termites and Other Robots
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Termites build huge, complex structures through the collective actions of millions of independent agents. These natural systems inspire the research area of collective construction, whose goal is to develop autonomous multi-robot systems that build large-scale structures according to user specifications. I will discuss the design and realization of such a system in which climbing robots flexibly build structures using specialized building blocks. Robots act independently under decentralized control, using local information, onboard sensing, and implicit coordination through manipulation of a shared environment. A user can specify a target structure using a high-level representation, and robots follow simple rules that guarantee the correct completion of that structure. I will also briefly discuss ongoing experimental studies of African termites, aimed at better understanding their individual behaviors and how these give rise to the structures they produce.
- IRIM Seminar Series