Journal article

Evolution of Homing Navigation in a Real Mobile Robot

In this paper we describe the evolution of a discrete-time recurrent neural network to control a real mobile robot. In all our experiments the evolutionary procedure is carried out entirely on the physical robot without human intervention. We show that the autonomous development of a set of behaviors for locating a battery charger and periodically returning to it can be achieved by lifting constraints in the design of the robot/environment interactions that were employed in a preliminary experiment. The emergent homing behavior is based on the autonomous development of an internal neural topographic map (which is not pre-designed) that allows the robot to choose the appropriate trajectory as function of location and remaining energy.

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