Robotic systems are becoming increasingly important in today's society, from driverless cars, to environmental monitoring, to healthcare support. 'Collectives' - groups of robots working together - can provide a distinct advantage. Endowing robotic systems with degrees of artificial intelligence can allow robots to adapt to changing scenarios or cope with sudden failures.
At York we are investigating fundamental issues behind collective robotic intelligence. We contemplate how to design robotic hardware and software to work in groups on a wider variety of tasks, from moving objects to monitoring for pollutants in lakes. Using ideas from natural systems we are building collective robotic systems that can potentially solve real-world problems. Taking inspiration from ant colonies, swarms of bees or the immune system, we are building adaptive systems, embedding intelligence into collectives so that together they can solve problems which a lone robot could not.