is a new technique for the automatic creation of autonomous robots. Inspired by the
Darwinian principle of selective reproduction of the fittest, it views robots as
autonomous artificial organisms that develop their own skills in close interaction with
the environment and without human intervention.Drawing heavily on biology and ethology, it
uses the tools of neural networks, genetic algorithms, dynamic systems, and biomorphic
engineering. The resulting robots share with simple biological systems the characteristics
of robustness, simplicity, small size, flexibility, and modularity.
In evolutionary robotics, an initial population of artificial chromosomes, each encoding
the control system of a robot, is randomly created and put into the environment. Each
robot is then free to act (move, look around, manipulate) according to its genetically
specified controller while its performance on various tasks is automatically evaluated.
The fittest robots then "reproduce" by swapping parts of their genetic material
with small random mutations. The process is repeated until the "birth" of a
robot that satisfies the performance criteria.
This book describes the basic concepts and methodologies of evolutionary robotics and the
results achieved so far. An important feature is the clear presentation of a set of
empirical experiments of increasing complexity. Software with a graphic
interface, freely available on a Web Page, will allow the
reader to replicate and vary (in simulation and on real robots) most of the experiments.
1. The Role of Self-organization for the Synthesis and the Understanding of Behavioral Systems
2. Evolutionary and Neural Techniques
3. How to Evolve Robots
4. Evolution of Simple Navigation
5. Power and Limits of Reactive Intelligence
6. Beyond Reactive Intelligence
7. Learning and Evolution
8. Competitive Co-Evolution
9. Encoding, Mapping, and Development
10. Complex Hardware Morphologies: Walking Machines
11. Evolvable Hardware
Intelligent Robots and Autonomous Agents series edited
by Ronald C. Arkin, MIT Press., November 2000, ISBN 0-262-14070-5, 384 pp., 157 illus.
"This is an exciting new area that has implications and ramifications
ranging from psychology to artificial life; can we create robots with intelligent
or adaptive behavior using techniques comparable to the Darwinian evolution
that created the animals and ourselves? Here is an authoritative, clearly written
survey written by two of the researchers who helped to pioneer the field"
Inman Harvey (2001) book cover.
"An excellent book providing a thorough coverage of the subject. Clearly and
insightfully written, this is a must for researchers and postgraduate students
interested in new approaches to intelligent robotics "
Phil Husband (2001) book cover.
"This book will be welcomed by those interested in building complex robots or simple robots
that do complex things"
David B. Fogel (2001) American Scientist, pp.371.
"You can tell a field is reaching maturity when its first textbook is written....Stefano Nolfi and
Dario Floreano make a good job of this task... This is one of those books from which you learn more
that you initially set out to...Nolfi and Floreano make a superb job of presenting the state of the art
of evolutionary robotics, weaving their own experimental results with current theoretical ideas.
It is indeed a notable achievement and will certainly be considered a hallmark in this leading-edge field."
Hod Lipson (2001) Artificial Life, 7:419-424.
"Overall, Evolutionary Robotics is an informative and inspiring book that provides a through
examination of the subject. It is suitable for researchers and postgraduate students who are interested in this subject"
(2001) Industrial Robot: An International Journal, 4:350-351.
"In summary, the book is highly reccommended for all involved in the field of evolutionary robotics.
It will be an important reference for experimental and theoretical studies in evolutionary robotics for
quite some time."
Horatiu Voicu (2002) AI Magazine, pp.106-107.
Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology
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