In this day and age of technology, the future has been projected to be fun, and ease as more inventions are being made to send well-designed robots to highly risky rescue missions, advance productivity, raise an army and even take agriculture to a different level. With many advanced types of researches done in the field of swarm robotics, it has been discovered that the emergence of another technology in the name of blockchain technology will perfectly combine and offset the many gaps in the swamp robotics to make the future better.
What is Swarm Robotics?
Swarm robotics deals with the study of the design, physical body and the collective behaviour of robotics. It is an approach that deals with the coordination of multiple robots in a distributed and decentralized way. The characteristics of swarm robots are likened to swarm insects. Social insects, for instance, can communicate the location of food, the presence of danger and many more based on the interaction among themselves and the interaction with the environment.
Blockchain, on the other hand, is a distributed ledger that permanently stores transaction or data in a decentralized way. The ability of Blockchain to verify agreement between parties without the involvement of any third party makes it a strong candidate to help in some of these problems encountered as robots are considered to be deployed into the real world.
Blockchain in Robotics
Robots are being deployed for material deliveries, and some are being worked on to fit for needs that require autonomous decision making, but the characteristics that make them feasible to future applications including robot autonomy, decentralized control, and collective emergent behaviour, have been a course for concern. Blockchain technology becomes the perfect fit for these needs.
The Blockchain uses peer to peer network alongside cryptographic algorithms to verify transaction without the need of any third party. This distributed ledger makes decentralization a reality, and the combination of this and the swarm robotic system produces secure, autonomous, flexible and profitable robots. The use of blockchain technology in swarm robotics provides the needed security, behaviour differentiation and distributed decision making to correctly execute their mandates.
How Blockchain Solve Robotic Problems.
According to the Robotic rules of Isaac Asimov, Robots must be subjected to three main rules which are 1. Robots must not injure or hurt a human being.
- Robots must take and obey instructions from human beings unless the order violates the first rule.
- Robots must protect their existence unless this breaks the second rule.
However, modern robots are so vulnerable that their weaknesses can be exploited and compromised to go against their rules to harm human beings. Security has been a significant concern in the field of swamp robotics.
The blockchain technology actively helps to overcome potential threats and attacks and has been a strong candidate to solve the security concern of swarm robotics. The blockchain has encryption schemes and techniques including a public key and digital signature cryptography that makes it possible to prove the identity of agents in a network. A pair of private keys and public keys is created for each agent in the network. The public keys have access to public information stored on the blockchain, while the private keys have access to secret information like a password. A robot can, therefore, share the public key to other robots that want to communicate. Since each robot may have a peculiar address, a message sent by other robots can only be decrypted by that robot alone. Robots on the same communication line cannot decrypt the message. Third party robots cannot also decrypt messages, and even with access to the public key, messages cannot be decrypted by third parties.
Also, digital signature cryptography makes it possible for robots to encrypt messages with their private keys, while other robots also use the sender’s public key to decrypt a message. Blockchain in robotics is one of the most significant scientific works that can make the future better. Behaviour differentiation is another setback in the deployment of robots in the real world. There may be issues that may arise in switching from one control algorithm to the other when accomplishing a set goal. The blockchain technology in this case which can link multiple Blockchain in hierarchically way can solve the problem. In this case, swarm agents will behave differently depending on the type of blockchain used. Following the success of integrating blockchain in robotics and the kind of services it can provide, some companies have already started using the technology in their robotic creation.
Artificial intelligence and Blockchain
Artificial intelligence is another exciting field in robotics that has been considered to be combined with blockchain. Robots are known to be well arranged in an assembly line, but no consensus has been reached whether they can be intelligent. A company founded by Ben Goertzel called SingularityNET seeks to make use of Artificial intelligent and blockchain to create another mind-blowing robot following his involvement in the creation of Robot Sophia- the first robot to get citizenship. Goertzel is currently the Chief scientist of Aidyia Holdings and Hanson Robotics, and with the vision of “we make robots come again,” he is creating an Artificial Intelligence focused blockchain to power robot Sophia’s brain.
One of the famous retail companies, Walmart has revealed its intention to create an autonomous robot to make a delivery. Walmart has recognized the usefulness of blockchain in robotics, and they intend to control and authenticate the autonomous robots using the blockchain network. The future looks promising, and a lot more exciting revolution is expected to happen in the future. One of such areas that can benefit a lot from the Robotic and blockchain combination is the supply chain. The Ethereum based Smart Contract has an interesting way of making robots interact with other robots and humans. With the integration of decision making which usually comes with intelligence, our fridges could make orders and make payments through the smart contract. The ordered products would also be delivered by robots or autonomous drones.
Smart robots may be able to record and analyze data based on ever-changing consumer behaviour. Being able to know when and why sales of a particular product rise and fall, robots will ensure that there is no overproduction and underproduction from the side of the producer. Decentralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) firm SingularityNET recently partnered with Hara to provide Artificial intelligence powered crop diagnosis and data analytics in the agriculture industry.
With the combination of the blockchain, robots and artificial intelligence, robots could be in place of underground train drivers in the future, they would just follow a few simple preprogrammed rules to get the train safely into its destination. Robot space explorers would replace man to explore space; something which is usually dangerous to human (this initiation has already started). Robot armies would be deployed, and Robots would be in charge of the rescue mission in more dangerous places. These are, however, not the only places where robots would be used. Have you ever imagined a robot porter or a nurse that is e.g. in the charge of your food order and delivery? Well, now you should! Because that is exactly what the future holds…