Evolutionary Robotics

Evolutionary robotics takes inspiration from natural evolution to automatically design robot bodies and brains (neural networks) and to understand evolution of living systems. From an artificial intelligence perspective, we are interested in open-ended evolution, evolution of multi-cellular soft robots, and evolution of swarming systems. From a biological perspective, we are interested in understanding the evolutionary emergence and principles of cooperation, competition, division of labour, and communication.

We are also interested in promoting the understanding and study of evolution by means of software and hardware educational tools. We developed RoboGen™, an open-source software for the co-evolution of neural controllers and body shapes in physics-based simulations where evolved body parts can be 3D-printed and assembled with low-cost, off-the-shelf electronic components.

Bio-inspired Tensegrity Soft Modular Robots – Infoscience – link

Dual-stiffness origami drone


J. E. Auerbach; A. Concordel; P. M. Kornatowski; D. Floreano : Inquiry-Based Learning with RoboGen: An Open-Source Software and Hardware Platform for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence; IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies. 2019. DOI : 10.1109/TLT.2018.2833111.


G. E. Tamo; A. Maesani; S. Träger; M. Degiacomi; D. Floreano et al. : Disentangling constraints using viability evolution principles in integrative modeling of macromolecular assemblies; Scientific Reports. 2017. DOI : 10.1038/s41598-017-00266-w.


Y. Shim; J. E. Auerbach; P. Husbands : Darwinian Dynamics of Embodied Chaotic Exploration. 2016. GECCO '16, Denver, Colorado, USA, 20-24 07 2016. p. 1053-1056. DOI : 10.1145/2908961.2931673.
A. Maesani; G. Iacca; D. Floreano : Memetic Viability Evolution for Constrained Optimization; IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation. 2016. DOI : 10.1109/TEVC.2015.2428292.


A. Maesani; P. Ramdya; S. Cruchet; K. Gustafson; R. Benton et al. : Fluctuation-driven neural dynamics reproduce Drosophila locomotor patterns; Plos Computational Biology. 2015. DOI : 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004577.
J. E. Auerbach; G. H. M. Heitz; P. M. Kornatowski; D. Floreano : Rapid Evolution of Robot Gaits. 2015. GECCO '15, Madrid, Spain, July 11-15, 2015. p. 743-744. DOI : 10.1145/2739482.2764894.
A. Maesani : Viability evolutionary algorithms and applications to neuroscience and biology. Lausanne, EPFL, 2015. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-6360.


J. Auerbach; D. Aydin; A. Maesani; P. Kornatowski; T. Cieslewski et al. : RoboGen: Robot Generation through Artificial Evolution. 2014. Artificial Life 14: International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, New York, NY, USA, July 30-August 2, 2014. p. 136-137. DOI : 10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch022.
A. Maesani; D. Floreano : Viability Principles for Constrained Optimization Using a (1+1)-CMA-ES. 2014. 13th International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature, Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 13-17, 2014. p. 272-281. DOI : 10.1007/978-3-319-10762-2_27.
A. Maesani; P. R. Fernando; D. Floreano : Artificial Evolution by Viability Rather Than Competition; PLOS One. 2014. DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0086831.
P. Lichocki; D. Floreano; L. Keller : Selection methods regulate evolution of cooperation in digital evolution; Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 2014. DOI : 10.1098/rsif.2013.0743.


P. Lichocki : Evolution of division of labor in artificial societies. Lausanne, EPFL, 2013. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-5687.


S. Wischmann; D. Floreano; L. Keller : Historical contingency affects signaling strategies and competitive abilities in evolving populations of simulated robots; PNAS. 2012. DOI : 10.1073/pnas.1104267109.


S. Mitri; D. Floreano; L. Keller : Relatedness influences signal reliability in evolving robots; Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 2011. DOI : 10.1098/rspb.2010.1407.


P. Ramdya; R. Benton : Evolving olfactory systems on the fly; Trends In Genetics. 2010. DOI : 10.1016/j.tig.2010.04.004.
S. Hauert : Evolutionary Synthesis of Communication-Based Aerial Swarms. Lausanne, EPFL, 2010. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-4900.
P. Dürr; C. Mattiussi; D. Floreano : Genetic representation and evolvability of modular neural controllers; IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine. 2010. DOI : 10.1109/MCI.2010.937319.


S. Mitri : The evolution of communication in robot societies. Lausanne, EPFL, 2009. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-4551.
S. Wischmann : Do animat models always need a biological target organism?; Adaptive Behavior. 2009. DOI : 10.1177/1059712309340861.
S. Mitri; D. Floreano; L. Keller : The Evolution of Information Suppression in Communicating Robots with Conflicting Interests; PNAS. 2009. DOI : 10.1073/pnas.0903152106.
A. Soltoggio; B. Jones : Novelty of Behaviour as a Basis for the Neuro-evolution of Operant Reward Learning. 2009. Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2009), Montréal Québec,Canada, July 8-12, 2009.
S. Hauert; J.-C. Zufferey; D. Floreano : Reverse-engineering of Artificially Evolved Controllers for Swarms of Robots. 2009. IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, Trondheim, Norway, May 18-21, 2009. p. 55-61. DOI : 10.1109/CEC.2009.4982930.
S. Hauert; J.-C. Zufferey; D. Floreano : Evolved swarming without positioning information: an application in aerial communication relay; Autonomous Robots. 2009. DOI : 10.1007/s10514-008-9104-9.
M. Waibel; L. Keller; D. Floreano : Genetic Team Composition and Level of Selection in the Evolution of Cooperation; IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation. 2009. DOI : 10.1109/TEVC.2008.2011741.


D. Floreano; P. Dürr; C. Mattiussi : Neuroevolution: from architectures to learning; Evolutionary Intelligence. 2008. DOI : 10.1007/s12065-007-0002-4.


M. Waibel : Evolution of cooperation in artificial ants. Lausanne, EPFL, 2007. DOI : 10.5075/epfl-thesis-3943.
D. Floreano; S. Mitri; S. Magnenat; L. Keller : Evolutionary Conditions for the Emergence of Communication in Robots; Current Biology. 2007. DOI : 10.1016/j.cub.2007.01.058.


S. Mitri; P. Vogt : Co-evolution of Language and Behaviour in Autonomous Robots. 2006. The sixth international conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang6), World Scientific, Rome, Italy, April, 2006. p. 428-429.
J.-C. Zufferey; A. Guanella; A. Beyeler; D. Floreano : Flying over the Reality Gap: From Simulated to Real Indoor Airships; Autonomous Robots. 2006.
M. Suzuki; D. Floreano : Active Vision for Neural Development and Landmark Navigation. 2006. 50th Anniversary Summit of Artificial Intelligence, Monte Verità, Switzerland, 9-14 July 2006. p. 247-248.
D. Floreano; M. Suzuki : Active Vision and Neural Development in Animals and Robots. 2006. The Seventh International Conference on Cognitive Modeling, Trieste, Italy, 5-8 April 2006. p. 10--11.
M. Suzuki; D. Floreano : Evolutionary Active Vision Toward Three Dimensional Landmark-Navigation. 2006. From Animals to Animats 9: The Ninth International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior, Roma, Italy, 25-29 September 2006. p. 263--273. DOI : 10.1007/11840541_22.
M. Suzuki; J. van der Blij; D. Floreano : Omnidirectional Active Vision for Evolutionary Car Driving. 2006. The Ninth International Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems, Tokyo, Japan, 7-9 March 2006. p. 153--161.


M. Suzuki; D. Floreano; E. A. Di Paolo : The Contribution of Active Body Movement to Visual Development in Evolutionary Robots; Neural Networks. 2005. DOI : 10.1016/j.neunet.2005.06.043.
D. Floreano; M. Suzuki; C. Mattiussi : Active Vision and Receptive Field Development in Evolutionary Robots; Evolutionary Computation. 2005. DOI : 10.1162/106365605774666912.
M. Suzuki; D. Floreano; E. A. Di Paolo : Constraints on Body Movement during Visual Development Affect Behavior of Evolutionary Robots. 2005. The International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, Montreal, Canada, 31 July-4 August 2005. p. 2778--2783.


A. M. Abdelbar; S. Ragab; S. Mitri : Co-Evolutionary Particle Swarm Optimization Applied to the 7x7 Seega Game. 2004. International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN), Budapest, Hungary, July, 2004.
C. Mattiussi; D. Floreano : Evolution of Analog Networks using Local String Alignment on Highly Reorganizable Genomes. 2004. NASA/DoD Conference on Evolvable Hardware (EH'2004), Seattle, 24-26 June. p. 30-37.
C. Mattiussi; D. Floreano : Connecting Transistors and Proteins. 2004. 9th International Conference on Artificial Life (Alife9), Boston (MA). p. 9-14.
D. Floreano; T. Kato; D. Marocco; E. Sauser : Coevolution of active vision and feature selection; Biological Cybernetics. 2004. DOI : 10.1007/s00422-004-0467-5.


A. M. Abdelbar; S. Ragab; S. Mitri : Applying Co-Evolutionary Particle Swam Optimization to the Egyptian Board Game Seega. 2003. The First Asian-Pacific Workshop on Genetic Programming, Canberra, Australia, December, 2003. p. 9-15.


D. Floreano; J. Urzelai : Evolution of Plastic Control Networks; Autonomous Robots. 2001. DOI : 10.1023/A:1012459627968.
T. Kato; D. Floreano : An Evolutionary Active-Vision System. 2001. The 2001 Congress on Evolutionary Computation, Seoul, South Korea, 05/27/2001 - 05/30/2001. p. 107--114.


D. Floreano; J. Urzelai : Artificial Evolution of Adaptive Software: An Application to Autonomous Robots; 3D The Journal of Three dimensional images (in japanese). 2000.


D. Floreano; F. Mondada : Evolutionary Neurocontrollers for Autonomous Mobile Robots; Neural Networks. 1998. DOI : 10.1016/S0893-6080(98)00082-3.
J. Urzelai; D. Floreano; M. Dorigo; M. Colombetti : Incremental Robot Shaping; Connection Science. 1998.