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Robot societies - A Basic Study

A simulated Model Society used as a reference in theoretical studies was built and its limited physical realisation using small-scaled mobile robots, named as HUTMANs is currently under construction.

Model Society consists of two types of autonomous mobile robots (named as Workers and Energy-carriers), and the task for the society is classical, to gather stones from an unknown environment along with mapping the environment while operating. The society has been implemented both as a physical society (still under work) and as a simulated one. In 1993 we started to study the usage of Genetic Algorithms in robot societies. The idea was to find out ways how a robot society could be prepared for working in an unknown environment. Extensive simulations demonstrated clearly, that GAs were actually able to provide considerable improvements in society’s operation. To be able to monitor the performance of the real robot society we are simultaneously constructing a graphical interface (see figure below on the right) for the task.

This interface connects the operator to the society and provides a visualization about what is happening in the society’s working area. It shows in one window the animated members based on the position information from a camera system.

The other windows are used for following topics: a large window is used for illustrating a feature map of the whole working area, which is evolving based on the members’ messages and smaller windows are reserved for the communication, for members' inner status and for the following of a task specific fitness function.