Analysis of Lamarckian evolution in morphologically evolving robots

Conference Date
Lyon, France
Date Published
September 2017
Conference Date: 2017, Vol. 14, Pages 214-221.
(doi: 10.7551/ecal_a_038)
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license
Article PDF (2.6 MB)

Evolving robot morphologies implies the need for lifetime learning so that newborn robots can learn to manipulate their bodies. An individual’s morphology will obviously combine traits of all its parents; it must adapt its own controller to suit its morphology, and cannot rely on the controller of any one parent to perform well without adaptation. This paper investigates the practicability and benefits of Lamarckian evolution in this setting. Implementing lifetime learning by means of on-line evolution, we first establish the suitability of an indirect encoding scheme that combines Compositional Pattern Producing Networks (CPPNs) and Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) as a relevant learner and controller for open-loop gait controllers. We then analyze a Lamarckian set-up and the effect of the parental genetic material on the early convergence to good locomotion performance.