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Comparison of Swarm Robotics and Other Systems

There exist several research areas inspired from the nature swarm, which are often confused with swarm robotics, such as multi-agent system and sensor network. These research areas also utilize the cooperative behavior emerged from the multiple agents in the group for specialized tasks. However, there are several differences between these systems, which can distinguish these systems fundamentally.

swarm comparison

From table, it can be easily deduced that the main differences among swarm robotics and other systems are population, control, homogeneity and functional extension. Multi-agent and sensor network systems mainly focus on the behaviors of multiple static agents in the known environments while the robots in the multi-robot systems are quite small, usually heterogeneous and are externally controlled.

Since homogeneity and scalability are considered at the beginning of the system design, the swarm robotics shows great flexibility and adaptability compared with other systems. The multi-robot systems usually involve the heterogeneous robots, and may achieve better performance on specialized tasks at the cost of flexibility, reusability and scalability. Besides scalability which is introduced in previous section, the characteristics of swarm robotics among other three cooperative systems are listed in table.

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