What is a Robot Swarm: A Definition for Swarming Robotics

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Robotics Research Center

Publication Date

Fall 10-11-2019

Publication Title

IEEE Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics and Mobile Communications Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The swarm, a type of multi-agent system, has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity within the autonomous robotics field. Despite a variety of theoretical and simulated research work in the area of swarm theory and multi-agent artificial intelligence, the practical use of swarms remains limited. Though many limiting factors lie on the technical front, one limiting factor may be a lack of appreciation for swarm capabilities and applications as opposed to those of conventional robotics. To help address the latter limiting factor, this paper proposes a definition of a swarm in the context of autonomous robotics, describes many real-world problems that can be addressed through use of swarms, and details current applications of swarming robotic systems.

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