I read a story (early 1990s but book looked old even then) that I think was part of an anthology.
In it our protagonist uses a time machine (I think it can only go forward in time, although I might be mistaken).
definitely in the story
- travels to the far distant future.
- insects are controlling large black bipedal machines
- protagonist finds other wrecked time ships of different designs to his, including ones where the occupants had died of old age due to the time they took to travel (protagonist speculates the machines was stuck and they couldn't stop it)
- the insects may not actually be intelligent and could be remnants of old human training and ended up wiping out humanity.
- the protagonist may have found the time machine rather than invented it
- the only other humans are other time travelling survivors
- the insects have built huge pillared structures like skyscraper sized ant hills/termite mounds
- the entire area seems to be desert like, as if all water has gone.
- the protagonist fixed his time machine by scavenging parts from other machines
- when one of the insect machines was broken the insects scattered and acted like normal insects
- Were the ants robots? Did the robots travel through time? How did they do that?
No, the robots were controlled by the insects/ants like a hive mind that controlled the machine.
If memory serves the machine looked like an all black ed-209 from Robocop
The ants were not time travellers themselves but has supplanted humans. It was definitely earth. It may be the ants were trained rather than intelligent but had gone too far and destroyed mankind.