Swarm of Aquatic Robots

February 8th, 2016 by

Researchers from the University Institute of Lisbon and the University of Lisbon in Portugal have demonstrated the first swarm of intelligent aquatic surface robots in a real environment. Swarms of aquatic robots have the potential be used for environmental monitoring, search and rescue, and maritime surveillance. The researchers used nature-inspired approaches for designing the robotic swarm. Instead of manually programming the robots to carry out a mission, evolutionary algorithms are used to synthesize the controller of each robot. Evolutionary algorithms mimic Darwinian evolution to automatically generate the artificial neural network that allows the robots to carry out the missions autonomously. The demonstration involved a swarm with up to ten robots in various collective tasks including area monitoring, navigation to waypoint, aggregation, and dispersion. The hull of the robots is built from CNC-machined polystyrene foam, and fitted with 3-D-printed components. Each robot is equipped with GPS and compass, it can communicate with nearby robots using WiFi, and the software runs on an onboard Raspberry Pi 2 computer.

Source: arXiv

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