Emulating deceptive behaviour of squirrels and birds, researchers have developed robots that are able to deceive each other, a finding which can come handy in military intelligence.
The research led by Professor Ronald Arkin from the Georgia Institute of Technology, suggests the applications could be implemented by the military operations.
Arkin and his team learned by reviewing biological research results that squirrels gather acorns and store them in specific locations.
The animal then patrols the hidden caches, routinely going back and forth to check on them. When another squirrel shows up, hoping to raid the hiding spots, the hoarding squirrel changes its behaviour.
Instead of checking on the true locations, it visits empty cache sites, trying to deceive the predator.
Researchers implemented the same strategy into a robotic model and demonstration. The deceptive behaviours worked. The deceiving robot lured the "predator" robot to the false locations, delaying the discovery of the protected resources.
"This application could be used by robots guarding ammunition or supplies on the battlefield.
"If an enemy were present, the robot could change its patrolling strategies to deceive humans or another intelligent machine, buying time until reinforcements are able to arrive," said Arkin in a statement.
Researchers also created a simulation and demo based on birds that might bluff their way to safety.
In Israel, Arabian babblers in danger of being attacked sometimes join other birds and harass their predator. This mobbing process causes such a commotion that the predator will eventually give up the attack and leave.
Arkin's team investigated whether a simulated babbler is more likely to survive if it fakes or feigns strength when it doesn't exist.
The team's simulations based on biological models of dishonesty and the handicap principle, show that deception is the best strategy when the addition of deceitful agents pushes the size of the group to the minimum level required to frustrate the predator enough for it to flee.
"In military operations, a robot that is threatened might feign the ability to combat adversaries without actually being able to effectively protect itself," said Arkin."