This paper presents a modified artificial bee colony algorithm (MABC) for solving function optimization problems and control of mobile robot system. Several strategies are adopted to enhance the performance and reduce the computational effort of traditional artificial bee colony algorithm, such as elite, solution sharing, instant update, cooperative strategy, and population manager. The elite individuals are selected as onlooker bees for preserving good evolution, and, then, onlooker bees, employed bees, and scout bees are operated. The solution sharing strategy provides a proper direction for searching, and the instant update strategy provides the newest information for other individuals; the cooperative strategy improves the performance for high-dimensional problems. In addition, the population manager is proposed to adjust population size adaptively according to the evolution situation. Finally, simulation results for optimization of test functions and tracking control of mobile robot system are introduced to show the effectiveness and performance of the proposed approach.