In this paper, an agent-based model of ant traffic on a unidirectional single-lane ant trail is presented to provide better understanding of the jam-free traffic of an ant colony. On a trail, the average velocity of ants remains approximately constant irrespective of density, thereby avoiding jamming. Assuming chemotaxis, we analyze platoon-related scenarios to assess the marching-platoon hypothesis, which claims that ants on a trail form a single platoon in which they march synchronously, thereby reducing hindrances due to increasing density. Contrary to that hypothesis, our findings show that ants on a trail do not march synchronously and do experience stop-and-go motion. However, more interestingly, our study also indicates that the ants’ chemotaxis behavior leads to a peculiar jam absorption mechanism, which helps to maintain free flow on a trail and avoids jamming. Again, contrary to the marching-platoon hypothesis, our findings also indicate that, rather than assisting traffic flow, forming a single cluster actually triggers jamming.
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