Directed Locomotion for Modular Robots with Evolvable Morphologies

Abstract

Morphologically evolving robot systems need to include a learning period right after ‘birth’ to acquire a controller that fits the newly created body. In this paper, we investigate learning one skill in particular: walking in a given direction. To this end, we apply the HyperNEAT algorithm guided by a fitness function that balances the distance travelled in a direction and the deviation between the desired and the actually travelled directions. We validate this method on a variety of modular robots with different shapes and sizes and observe that the best controllers produce trajectories that accurately follow the correct direction and reach a considerable distance in the given test interval.