Evolving the Walking Behaviour of a 12 DOF Quadruped Using a Distributed Neural Architecture

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This paper describes how a distributed neural architecture for the general control of robots has been applied for the generation of a walking behaviour in the Aibo robotic dog. The architecture described has been already demonstrated useful for the generation of more simple behaviours like standing or standing up. This paper describes specifically how it has been applied to the generation of a walking pattern in a quadruped with twelve degrees of freedom, in both simulator and real robot.

The main target of this paper is to show that our distributed architecture can be applied to complex dynamic tasks like walking. Nevertheless, by showing this, we also show how a completely neural and distributed controller can be obtained for a robot as complex as Aibo on a task as complex as walking. This second result is by itself a new and interesting one since, to our extent, there are no other completely neural controllers for quadruped with so many DOF that allow the robot to walk.

Bio-inspiration is used in three ways: first we use the concept of central pattern generators in animals to obtain the desired walking robot. Second we apply evolutionary processes to obtain the neural controllers. Third, we seek limitations in how real dogs do walk in order to apply them to our controller and limit the search space.