Authors: Guzzi, J.; Giusti, A.; Gambardella, L. M.; Di Caro, G. A.
We propose a model of artificial emotions for adaptation and implicit coordination in multi-robot systems. Artificial emotions play two roles, which resemble their function in animals and humans: modulators of individual behavior, and means of communication for social coordination. Emotions are modeled as compressed representations of the internal state, and are subject to a dynamics depending on internal and external conditions. Being a compressed representation, they can be efficiently exposed to nearby robots, allowing to achieve local group-level communication. The model is instantiated for a navigation task, with the aim of showing how coordination can effectively emerge by adding artificial emotions on top of an existing navigation framework. We show the positive effects of emotion-mediated group behaviors in a few challenging scenarios that would otherwise require ad hoc strategies: preventing deadlocks in crowded conditions; enabling efficient navigation of agents with time-critical tasks; assisting robots with faulty sensors. Two performance measures, throughput and number of collisions, are used to quantify the contribution of emotions for modulation and coordination.