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Such command chains have already existed for a while, but researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois have reported that they have successfully developed the first decentralized algorithm that is guaranteed to stop collisions and blockages. This is all the more important as the number of individual vehicles on the move at the same time increases. The algorithm was tested with 100 real robots and in a simulation involving 1,024 robots. It is known as swarm intelligence: according to the research team, within one minute the robots moved into a specified formation without touching each other. In doing so, the individual robots only communicated with their direct neighbors. According to the scientists, central control systems can quickly become a “central breakdown point”. On the other hand, if one of the swarm robots leaves the formation, the swarm will continue to fulfil its task.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have applied a similar procedure for a different task. Ingenieur.de reported that they used ants as their example: on the one hand, they are so small that they can reach places that are difficult to access, and on the other, they can use their collective strength when needed. The researchers in Georgia produced micro robots with 3D printing that create swarms. They could be used for taking measurements or moving objects.