We consider here the use of heterogeneous UAV swarms to defend a high-value target. We gain inspiration from the guarding system used by colonies of Tetragonisca angustula bees, which uses both high-cost hovering guards and low-cost standing guards to protect within-nest resources from theft by their own and other species (con- and heterospecific invaders, respectively). Hovering guards discern heterospecifics from conspecifics, and standing guards discern conspecific invaders from nestmates. Using a value-based multi-agent simulation, we find that, when heterospecific invaders deduct much more value from the defended resources than conspecifics, a heterogeneous defense force preserves value most effectively. Consequently, when facing heterogeneous invaders, focus should be on building effective mixtures of heterogeneous defensive agents instead of enhancing capabilities of homogeneous robotic swarms. Our results also contribute to better understanding T. angustula’s guarding system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)2511-1256
ISSN (Electronic)2511-1264

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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