Stochastic behaviours for retrieval of storage items using simulated robot swarms

Artificial Life and Robotics(2022)

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Robot swarms have the potential to be used as an out-of-the-box solution for storage and retrieval that is low cost, scalable to the needs of the task, and would require minimal set up and training for the users. Swarms are adaptable, robust and scalable with a relatively low computational cost which makes them appropriate for this purpose. This project simulated a robot swarm with simple sensors and stochastic movement, collecting boxes from storage to deliver them to the user. We show in simulation that stochastic strategies based on random walk and probabilistic sampling of local boxes could give rise to competitive solutions to retrieve boxes and deliver them unordered, or following a predetermined order, within a storage scenario. The performance of the task is drastically improved using an additional simple bias rule which uses compass measurements and does not reduce the minimalism of the control. It is shown that swarm technology could provide an out-of-the-box system for storage and retrieval using only information local to each robot and with distributed control.
Swarm,Collective retrieval,Stochastic,Automated storage,Retrieval systems
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