Bootstrapping artificial evolution to design robots for autonomous fabrication

Edgar Buchanan*, Léni K. Le Goff, Wei Li, Emma Hart, Agoston E. Eiben, Matteo De Carlo, Alan F. Winfield, Matthew F. Hale, Robert Woolley, Mike Angus, Jon Timmis, Andy M. Tyrrell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


A long-term vision of evolutionary robotics is a technology enabling the evolution of entire autonomous robotic ecosystems that live and work for long periods in challenging and dynamic environments without the need for direct human oversight. Evolutionary robotics has been widely used due to its capability of creating unique robot designs in simulation. Recent work has shown that it is possible to autonomously construct evolved designs in the physical domain; however, this brings new challenges: the autonomous manufacture and assembly process introduces new constraints that are not apparent in simulation. To tackle this, we introduce a new method for producing a repertoire of diverse but manufacturable robots. This repertoire is used to seed an evolutionary loop that subsequently evolves robot designs and controllers capable of solving a maze-navigation task. We show that compared to random initialisation, seeding with a diverse and manufacturable population speeds up convergence and on some tasks, increases performance, while maintaining manufacturability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomous robot evolution
  • Autonomous robot fabrication
  • Evolutionary robotics
  • Robot manufacturability


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