Mobile Stigmergic Markers for Navigation in a Heterogeneous Robotic Swarm

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We study self-organized navigation in a heterogeneous robotic swarm consisting of two types of robots: small wheeled robots, called foot-bots, and flying robots that can attach to the ceiling, called eye-bots. The task of foot-bots is to navigate back and forth between a source and a target location. The eye-bots are placed in a chain on the ceiling, connecting source and target using infrared communication. Their task is to guide foot-bots, by giving local directional instructions. The problem we address is how the positions of eye-bots and the directional instructions they give can be adapted, so that they indicate a path that is efficient for foot-bot navigation, also in the presence of obstacles. We propose an approach of mutual adaptation between foot-bots and eye-bots. Our solution is inspired by pheromone based navigation of ants, as eye-bots serve as mobile stigmergic markers for foot-bot navigation.