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Symbiotic Evolutionary Robot Organisms (SYMBRION)
Start date: 01 Feb 2008, End date: 31 Jul 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The main focus of this project is to investigate and develop novel principles of adaptation and evolution for symbiotic multi-robot organisms based on bio-inspired approaches and modern computing paradigms. Such robot organisms will consist of super-large-scale swarms of robots, which can dock with each other and symbiotically share energy and computational resources within a single artificial-life-form. When it is advantageous to do so, these swarm robots can dynamically aggregate into one or many symbiotic organisms and collectively interact with the physical world via a variety of sensors and actuators. The bio-inspired evolutionary paradigms combined with robot embodiment and swarm-emergent phenomena, enable the organisms to autonomously manage their own hardware and software organization. In this way, artificial robotic organisms become self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting from both hardware and software perspectives. This leads not only to extremely adaptive, evolve-able and scalable robotic systems, but also enables robot organisms to reprogram themselves without human supervision and for new, previously unforeseen, functionality to emerge. In addition, different symbiotic organisms may co-evolve and cooperate with each other and with their environment.The extraordinary potential and capability of autonomous large-scale symbiotic self-aggregation, reprogramming and evolution would open-up a wide range of current and future applications. The main application scenarios of such artificial organisms would be human-free environments with a high degree of danger or uncertainty as e.g. hazardous or space environments. The consortium represents leading organizations in different research fields and provides the critical mass of expertise and resources. The core of consortium is already participating in other robotic projects, as e.g. I-Swarm or MiCRoN thus demonstrating the high level of competence and credibility of this proposal.
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