Challenges in cooperative coevolution of physically heterogeneous robot teams

J. Gomes*, P. Mariano, A.L. Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Heterogeneous multirobot systems have shown significant potential in many applications. Cooperative coevolutionary algorithms (CCEAs) represent a promising approach to synthesise controllers for such systems, as they can evolve multiple co-adapted components. Although CCEAs allow for an arbitrary level of team heterogeneity, in previous works heterogeneity is typically only addressed at the behavioural level. In this paper, we study the use of CCEAs to evolve control for a heterogeneous multirobot system where the robots have disparate morphologies and capabilities. Our experiments rely on a simulated task where a simple ground robot must cooperate with a complex aerial robot to find and collect items. We first show that CCEAs can evolve successful controllers for physically heterogeneous teams, but find that differences in the complexity of the skills the robots need to learn can impair CCEAs’ effectiveness. We then study how different populations can use different evolutionary algorithms and parameters tuned to the agents’ complexity. Finally, we demonstrate how CCEAs’ effectiveness can be improved using incremental evolution or novelty-driven coevolution. Our study shows that, despite its limitations, coevolution is a viable approach for synthesising control for morphologically heterogeneous systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNatural Computing
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)29-46
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 13th European Conference on Artificial Life - University of York, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 20. Jul 201524. Jul 2015


ConferenceThe 13th European Conference on Artificial Life
LocationUniversity of York
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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