Robot Swarm Learns to Work Together Without Colliding

A Georgia Tech research team has created new algorithms that allow any number of robots to move within inches of each other, without colliding, to complete their task - swapping locations on the lab floor. They are the first researchers to create such minimally invasive safety algorithms. The robots are using a set of safe states and barrier certificates to ensure each stays in its own safe set throughout the entire maneuver. In a demo with four robots, the lab's machines approach from four different areas, meet in the middle, circle counterclockwise within inches of each other, then fan out into opposite directions. In another demo, eight robots perform the same task, this time circling clockwise before dispersing. Instead of keeping their distance and taking the long way around their neighbors, the robots move very independently wherever they wish.