For ants and robots operating in confined spaces such as tunnels, having more workers does not necessarily mean getting more work done. A recent study shows that in fire ant colonies, a small number of workers does most of the digging. When digging nest tunnels, this less busy approach gets the job done without ant traffic jams -- ensuring smooth excavation flow. Researchers found that applying the ant optimization strategy to autonomous robots avoids mechanized clogs and gets the work done with the least amount of energy.
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