Collective motion of active Brownian particles with polar alignment

We present a comprehensive computational study of the collective behavior emerging from the competition between self-propulsion, excluded volume interactions and velocity-alignment in a two-dimensional model of active particles. We consider an extension of the active brownian particles model where the self-propulsion direction of the particles aligns with the one of their neighbors. We analyze the onset of collective motion (flocking) in a low-density regime (10% surface area) and show that it is mainly controlled by the strength of velocity-alignment interactions: the competition between self-propulsion and crowding effects plays a minor role in the emergence of flocking. However, above the flocking threshold, the system presents a richer pattern formation scenario than analogous models without alignment interactions (active brownian particles) or excluded volume effects (Vicsek-like models). Depending on the parameter regime, the structure of the system is characterized by either a broad distribution of finite-sized polar clusters or the presence of an amorphous, highly fluctuating, large-scale traveling structure which can take a lane-like or band-like form (and usually a hybrid structure which is halfway in between both). We establish a phase diagram that summarizes collective behavior of polar active brownian particles and propose a generic mechanism to describe the complexity of the large-scale structures observed in systems of repulsive self-propelled particles.