Neural Computing and Applications

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 263–286 | Cite as

Comparison of bio-inspired algorithms applied to the coordination of mobile robots considering the energy consumption

  • Nunzia PalmieriEmail author
  • Xin-She Yang
  • Floriano De Rango
  • Salvatore Marano
Original Article


Many applications, related to autonomous mobile robots, require to explore in an unknown environment searching for static targets, without any a priori information about the environment topology and target locations. Targets in such rescue missions can be fire, mines, human victims, or dangerous material that the robots have to handle. In these scenarios, some cooperation among the robots is required for accomplishing the mission. This paper focuses on the application of different bio-inspired metaheuristics for the coordination of a swarm of mobile robots that have to explore an unknown area in order to rescue and handle cooperatively some distributed targets. This problem is formulated by first defining an optimization model and then considering two sub-problems: exploration and recruiting. Firstly, the environment is incrementally explored by robots using a modified version of ant colony optimization. Then, when a robot detects a target, a recruiting mechanism is carried out to recruit a certain number of robots to deal with the found target together. For this latter purpose, we have proposed and compared three approaches based on three different bio-inspired algorithms (Firefly Algorithm, Particle Swarm Optimization, and Artificial Bee Algorithm). A computational study and extensive simulations have been carried out to assess the behavior of the proposed approaches and to analyze their performance in terms of total energy consumed by the robots to complete the mission. Simulation results indicate that the firefly-based strategy usually provides superior performance and can reduce the wastage of energy, especially in complex scenarios.


Multi-robot systems Swarm intelligence Energy consumption Nature-inspired algorithms Metaheuristics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Natural Computing Applications Forum 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Engineering, Modeling, Electronics and Systems ScienceUniversity of CalabriaRendeItaly
  2. 2.School of Design Engineering and MathematicsMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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