Designing the individual robot rules that give rise to desired emergent swarm behaviors is difficult. The common method of running evolutionary algorithms off-line to automatically discover controllers in simulation suffers from two disadvantages; the generation of controllers is not situated in the swarm and so cannot be performed in the wild, and the evolved controllers are often opaque and hard to understand. A swarm of robots with considerable on-board processing power is used to move the evolutionary process into the swarm, providing a potential route to continuously generating swarm behaviors adapted to the environments and tasks at hand. By making the evolved controllers human-understandable using behavior trees, the controllers can be queried, explained, and even improved by a human user. A swarm system capable of evolving and executing fit controllers in less than 15 minutes entirely within the swarm is demonstrated. One of the evolved controllers is then analyzed to explain its functionality. With the insights gained, a significant performance improvement in the evolved controller is engineered.
- evolutionary robotics
- swarm robotics