Conference paper

Automatic Creation of an Autonomous Agent: Genetic Evolution of a Neural Network Driven Robot

The paper describes the results of the evolutionary development of a real, neural-network driven mobile robot. The evolutionary approach to the development of neural controllers for autonomous agents has been successfully used by many researchers, but most - if not all - studies have been carried out with computer simulations. Instead, in this research the whole evolutionary process takes places entirely on a real robot without human intervention. Although the experiments described here tackle a simple task of navigation and obstacle avoidance, we show a number of emergent phenomena that are characteristic of autonomous agents. The neural controllers of the evolved best individuals display a full exploitation of non-linear and recurrent connections that make them more efficient than analogous man-designed agents. In order to fully understand and describe the robot behavior, we have also employed quantitative ethological tools [13], and showed that the adaptation dynamics conform to predictions made for animals.

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