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Swarm robotics: From sources of inspiration to domains of application

Swarm robotics is a novel approach to the coordination of large numbers of relatively simple robots which takes its inspiration from social insects. This paper proposes a definition to this newly emerging approach by 1) describing the desirable properties of swarm robotic systems, as observed in the system-level functioning of social insects, 2) proposing a definition for the term swarm robotics, and putting forward a set of criteria that can be used to distinguish swarm robotics research from other multi-robot studies, 3) providing a review of some studies which can act as sources of inspiration, and a list of promising domains for the utilization of swarm robotic systems.