Self-organised aggregation in swarms of robots with informed robots

Ziya Firat, Eliseo Ferrante, Nicolas Cambier, Elio Tuci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, we study a swarm of robots that has to select one aggregation site in an environment in which two sites are available. It is known in the literature that, in presence of asymmetries in the environment, robot swarms are able to perform a collective choice and aggregate in one among two possible sites, for example the largest of the two. We focus on an aggregation scenario where the environment is morphologically symmetric. The two aggregation sites are identical with only one exception: their colour. In addition, in the swarm only a proportion of robots, that we call the informed robots, possess extra information concerning on which specific site the swarm is required to aggregate. The rest of the robots are non-informed, thus they do not possess the above mentioned extra information. In simulation-based experiments we show that, if no robot in the swarm is informed, the swarm is able to break the symmetry and aggregates on one of the two sites at random. However, the introduction of a small proportion of informed robots is enough to break the symmetry: the majority of the swarm aggregates on the site preferred by the informed robot. Additionally, the swarm is also able to completely aggregate on one of the two sites when only 30% of the robots are informed, independently from the swarm size among those we considered. Finally, we analyse how the time dynamics of the aggregation process depend on the proportion of informed robots.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheory and Practice of Natural Computing - 7th International Conference, TPNC 2018, Proceedings
EditorsCarlos Martín-Vide, Miguel A. Vega-Rodríguez, David Fagan, Michael O’Neill
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030040697
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event7th International Conference on the Theory and Practice of Natural Computing, TPNC 2018 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 12 Dec 201814 Dec 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11324 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference7th International Conference on the Theory and Practice of Natural Computing, TPNC 2018


  • Aggregation
  • Informed leaders
  • Self-organisation
  • Swarm intelligence
  • Swarm robotics


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