The study of multi-robot systems (a team of robots) is a rapid growing research area in the field of robotics. Multi-robot systems offer considerable advantages over an individual robot. They provide redundancy, spatially diverse functionality and flexible reconfigurability. They can collectively accomplish tasks that are beyond the capabilities of a single robot. They have great potentials in both military (e.g. guarding, escorting, patrolling, stalking and attacking) and industrial applications (e.g. hazardous inspection, space exploration, assembling and transportation).
The application of swarm intelligence to the cooperation of multi-robot systems is a novel approach proposed recently. This approach is inspired from the observation of social insects such as ants, termites, wasps and bees. They stand as fascinating examples of how a large number of simple individuals can interact to create collectively intelligent systems: termites build large and complex mounds, army ants organize impressive foraging raids, and ants can collectively carry large preys. Such coordination capabilities are still beyond the reach of current multi-robot systems. The goal of this project is to develop swarm-intelligence based multi-robot systems and cooperation algorithms. Lego Mindstorms NXT are used to prototype such robots.