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Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE C 2012 Vol.13 No.5 P.315-327


Biologically inspired collective construction with visual landmarks

Author(s):  Zheng-wei Zhang, Hong Zhang, Yi-bin Li

Affiliation(s):  School of Control Science and Engineering, Shandong University, Jinan 250061, China; more

Corresponding email(s):   zzwei21cn@mail.sdu.edu.cn, hzhang@ualberta.ca

Key Words:  Biologically inspired, Swarm robotics, Collective construction, Visual landmark, Template

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Zheng-wei Zhang, Hong Zhang, Yi-bin Li. Biologically inspired collective construction with visual landmarks[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science C, 2012, 13(5): 315-327.

@article{title="Biologically inspired collective construction with visual landmarks",
author="Zheng-wei Zhang, Hong Zhang, Yi-bin Li",
journal="Journal of Zhejiang University Science C",
publisher="Zhejiang University Press & Springer",

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%T Biologically inspired collective construction with visual landmarks
%A Zheng-wei Zhang
%A Hong Zhang
%A Yi-bin Li
%J Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE C
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%D 2012
%I Zhejiang University Press & Springer
%DOI 10.1631/jzus.C1100243

T1 - Biologically inspired collective construction with visual landmarks
A1 - Zheng-wei Zhang
A1 - Hong Zhang
A1 - Yi-bin Li
J0 - Journal of Zhejiang University Science C
VL - 13
IS - 5
SP - 315
EP - 327
%@ 1869-1951
Y1 - 2012
PB - Zhejiang University Press & Springer
ER -
DOI - 10.1631/jzus.C1100243

We describe our research in using environmental visual landmarks as the basis for completing simple robot construction tasks. Inspired by honeybee visual navigation behavior, a visual template mechanism is proposed in which a natural landmark serves as a visual reference or template for distance determination as well as for navigation during collective construction. To validate our proposed mechanism, a wall construction problem is investigated and a minimalist solution is given. Experimental results show that, using the mechanism of a visual template, a collective robotic system can successfully build the desired structure in a decentralized fashion using only local sensing and no direct communication. In addition, a particular variable, which defines tolerance for alignment of the structure, is found to impact the system performance. By decreasing the value of the variable, system performance is improved at the expense of a longer construction time. The visual template mechanism is appealing in that it can use a reference point or salient object in a natural environment that is new or unexplored and it could be adapted to facilitate more complicated building tasks.

Darkslateblue:Affiliate; Royal Blue:Author; Turquoise:Article


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