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Title: Evolving robots : from simple behaviours to complete systems
Author: Lee, W.-P.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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Building robots is generally considered difficult, because the designer not only has to predict the interaction between the robot and the environment, but also to deal with ensuing problems. This thesis examines the use of the evolutionary approach in designing robots; the explorations range from evolving simple behaviours for real robots, to complex behaviours (also for real robots), and finally to the complete robot systems - including controllers and body plans. A framework is presented for evolving robot control systems. It includes two components: a task independent Genetic Programming sub-system and a task dependent controller evaluation sub-system. The performance evaluation of each robot controller is done in a simulator to reduce the evaluation time, and then the evolved controllers are downloaded to a real robot for performance verification. In addition, a special representation is designed for the reactive robot controller. It is succinct and can capture well the characteristics of a reactive control system, so that the evolutionary system can efficiently evolve the controllers of the desired behaviours for the robots. The framework has been used to evolve controllers for real robots to achieve a variety of simple tasks successfully, such as obstacle avoidance, safe exploration and box-pushing. A methodology is then proposed to scale up the system to evolve controllers for more complicated tasks. It involves adopting the architecture of a behaviour-based system, and evolving separate behaviour controllers and arbitrators for coordination. This allows robot controllers for more complex skills to be constructed in an incremental manner. Therefore the whole control system becomes easy to evolve; moreover, the resulting control system can be explicitly distributed, understandable to the system designer, and easy to maintain. The methodology has been used to evolve control systems for more complex tasks with good results.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available