Bio-inspired Role Allocation of Heterogeneous Teams in a Site Defense Task
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We consider here the use of heterogeneous UAV swarms to defend a high-value target. We gain inspiration from the guarding system used by colonies of Tetragonisca angustula bees, which uses both high-cost hovering guards and low-cost standing guards to protect within-nest resources from theft by their own and other species (con- and heterospecific invaders, respectively). Hovering guards discern heterospecifics from conspecifics, and standing guards discern conspecific invaders from nestmates. Using a value-based multi-agent simulation, we find that, when heterospecific invaders deduct much more value from the defended resources than conspecifics, a heterogeneous defense force preserves value most effectively. Consequently, when facing heterogeneous invaders, focus should be on building effective mixtures of heterogeneous defensive agents instead of enhancing capabilities of homogeneous robotic swarms. Our results also contribute to better understanding T. angustula’s guarding system.
This work was supported by DARPA under the Bio-Inspired Swarming seedling project, contract FA8651-17-F-1013.
The authors would like to thank Dr. Jon Harrison of Arizona State University (ASU) for his assistance in estimating T. angustula metabolic rates, and him, Meghan Duell (ASU), and Dr. David Roubik of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute for the raw data  used to make those estimations.
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