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Take me to your robot leader


Ottawa-based Frontline Robotics have developed robots that use distributed intelligence to make decisions as groups. The Robotic Open Control (ROC) software essentially operates by allowing the robots to elect a leader to make critical decisions at crunch times. In the event that the lead robot is unable to fulfill his duties, the team elects another. Being able to co-ordinate actions in response to the other robots in the group leads to the evolution of problem solving strategies more complex than robots acting alone. Right now the software is being deployed in commercially available four-wheeled unmanned rover vehicles called GRUNTs. At 1000 pounds and 6.5 feet in length, these beefy little robots are outfitted with radio communication, imaging cameras, night-vision sensors, radar, and GPS. Maxing out at speeds of about 19 miles per hour, the GRUNTs can spin twice on the spot in one second, making them rather agile dancers, to boot.

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