If robots are allowed to evolve through natural selection, they will develop adaptive abilities to hunt prey, cooperate, and even help one another, according to Swiss researchers.
In a series of experiments described in the journal PLoS Biology, Dario Floreano of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and Laurent Keller of the University of Lausanne reported that simple, small-wheeled Khepera and Alice robots can evolve behaviors such as collision-free movement and homing techniques in only several hundred "generations."
The robots were controlled by a neural network that mutated randomly, with input information from the robots' sensors. In an imitation of natural selection, the robots with the best maneuvering abilities were allowed to foster a new generation. Furthermore, selected robots were "paired" by having their neural net connections mixed and passed to a new generation.
Within 100 generations, the robots were able to move through a maze without bumping into anything. … Read more