We have evolved artificial neural networks to control the wandering behavior of small robots. The task and environment were very simple—to touch as many squares in a grid as possible during a fixed period of time. A number of the simulated robots were embodied in a small Lego™ robot, controlled by a Motorola™ 6811 processor; and their performance was compared to the simulations. We observed that: (a) evolution was an effective means to program the robot's behavior; (b) progress was characterized by sharply stepped periods of improvement, separated by periods of stasis that corresponded to levels of behavioral/computational complexity; and (c) the simulated and realized robots behaved quite similarly, the realized robots in some cases outperforming the simulated ones. Introducing random noise to the simulations improved the fit somewhat (from r = 0.73 to 0.79). Hybrid simulated/embodied selection regimes for evolutionary robots are discussed.

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