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Moving efficiently through a crowd: A nature-inspired traffic rule

Danny Raj, M and Kumaran, V (2021) Moving efficiently through a crowd: A nature-inspired traffic rule. In: Physical Review E, 104 (5).

phy_rev_104-05_2021.pdf - Published Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.104.054609


In this article, we propose a traffic rule inspired from nature that instructs how a crowd made up of inert agents should respond to an elite agent to facilitate its motion through the crowd. When an object swims in a fluid medium or an intruder is forced through granular matter, characteristic flow fields are created around them. We show that if inert agents made small movements based on a traffic rule derived from these characteristic flow fields, then they efficiently reorganize and transport enough space for the elite to pass through. The traffic rule used in the article is a dipole field which satisfactorily captures the features of the flow fields around a moving intruder. We study the effectiveness of this dipole traffic rule using numerical simulations in a two-dimensional periodic domain, where one self-propelled elite agent tries to move through a crowd of inert agents that prefer to stay in a state of rest. Simulations are carried out for a wide range of strengths of the traffic rule and packing densities of the crowd. We characterize and analyze four regions in the parameter space - free-flow, motion due to cooperation and frozen and collective drift regions - and discuss the consequence of the traffic rule in light of the collective behavior observed. We believe that the proposed method can be of use in a swarm of robots working in constrained environments. © 2021 American Physical Society.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Physical Review E
Publisher: American Physical Society
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Authors
Keywords: Biomimetics; Swarm intelligence, Dipole fields; Fluid medium; Free flow; Granular matter; Movement-based; Packing density; Parameter spaces; Periodic domains; Traffic rules; Two-dimensional, Flow fields
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Chemical Engineering
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2021 05:55
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2021 05:55
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/70708

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