Evolutionary Intelligence

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 71–93

Beyond black-box optimization: a review of selective pressures for evolutionary robotics

Special Issue

DOI: 10.1007/s12065-014-0110-x

Cite this article as:
Doncieux, S. & Mouret, JB. Evol. Intel. (2014) 7: 71. doi:10.1007/s12065-014-0110-x


Evolutionary robotics (ER) is often viewed as the application of a family of black-box optimization algorithms—evolutionary algorithms—to the design of robots, or parts of robots. When considering ER as black-box optimization, the selective pressure is mainly driven by a user-defined, black-box fitness function, and a domain-independent selection procedure. However, most ER experiments face similar challenges in similar setups: the selective pressure, and, in particular, the fitness function, is not a pure user-defined black box. The present review shows that, because ER experiments share common features, selective pressures for ER are a subject of research on their own. The literature has been split into two categories: goal refiners, aimed at changing the definition of a good solution, and process helpers, designed to help the search process. Two sub-categories are further considered: task-specific approaches, which require knowledge on how to solve the task and task-agnostic ones, which do not need it. Besides highlighting the diversity of the approaches and their respective goals, the present review shows that many task-agnostic process helpers have been proposed during the last years, thus bringing us closer to the goal of a fully automated robot behavior design process.


Evolutionary robotics Selective pressures Goal refiner Process helper Task-specific Task-agnostic 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sorbonne UniversitésUPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7222, ISIRParisFrance
  2. 2.CNRSUMR 7222, ISIRParisFrance

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