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evolutionary robotics

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

Evolutionary robotics is a computer-simulated method of creating intelligent, autonomous robots with particular traits, based on the principles of Darwin's theory of evolution. In evolutionary robotics, autonomous robots are treated as organisms that can function and evolve independently of humans.

The robot-evolution process begins with the creation of artificial "chromosomes" that tell the robot how to interact with its environment. Once a group of autonomous robots has been implanted with "chromosomes," the robots are allowed to "live" and "evolve" in a computer-generated environment, exchanging "genetic material" in the same way that living organisms would do over long periods of time, including reproduction and mutations. The process is allowed to continue until a robot is "born" with certain sought-after characteristics. The process simulates selective breeding in living organisms.

Evolutionary robotics is related to developmental robotics, but takes a different approach. Evolutionary robotics involves populations of robots. Developmental robotics is concerned with the increase in individual robots' intelligence as they acquire experience in their environments.

This was last updated in December 2012

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