Tracking Footprints in a Swarm: Information-Theoretic and Spatial Centre of Influence Measures
Boids (bird-oids) is a widely used model to mimic the behaviour of birds. Shoids (sheep-oids) rely on the same boids rules with the addition of a repulsive force away from a sheepdog (a herding agent). Previous work assumed homogeneous shoids. Real-world observations of sheep show non-homogeneous responses to the presence of a herding agent. We present a portfolio of information-theoretic and spatial indicators to track the footprints of shoids with different parameters within the shoid flock. The portfolio is named the Centre of Influence to indicate that the aim is to identify the influential shoids with the highest impact on flock dynamics. We use both synthetic simulation-driven data and measurements collected from live sheep herding trials by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to validate the proposed measures. The resultant measures will allow us in our future research to design more efficient control strategies for the UAV, by polarising the attention of the machine learning algorithm on those shoids with influence footprints, to drive the flock to improve the herding of sheep.