Design, analysis and construction of a novel flexible rover robot
The paper presents an evolutionary robotics model of the Rover Mars robot. This work has the objective to investigate the possibility of using an alternative sensor system, based on infrared sensors, for future rovers capable of performing autonomous tasks in challenging planetary terrain environments. The simulation model of the robot and of Mars terrain is based on a physics engine. The robot control system consists of an artificial neural network trained using evolutionary computation techniques. An adaptive threshold on the infrared sensors has been evolved together with the neural control system to allow the robot to adapt itself to many different environmental conditions. The properties of the behaviour obtained after the evolutionary process has been tested by measuring the performance of the rover under various terrain conditions. Simulations results show that the robot, at the end of the evolutionary process, is able to avoid rocks, holes and steep slopes based purely on the information provided by the infrared sensors.