Cite as:

Justin Werfel, Yaneer Bar-Yam, Radhika Nagpal, Building patterned structures with robot swarms, in Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2005), Scotland, UK, 1495Ð1502 (2005).


We describe a system in which simple, identi- cal, autonomous robots assemble two-dimensional structures using prefabricated modules as building blocks. Modules are capable of some information processing, enabling them to share long-range structural information and communicate it to robots. This communication allows arbitrary solid structures to be rapidly built using a few fixed, local robot behaviors. Modules are identical in shape but may be functionally distinct, with constraints governing the location of different classes. We present algorithms for assembly of solid structures of any shape, both when the layout of module classes is fully specified in advance, and when functional constraints are satisfied during the building process, allowing for adaptive structures. This approach demonstrates a decentralized, autonomous, flexible, simple, and adaptive approach to construction.