Simultaneous design of the sensory morphology and controller of mobile robots

Komei Sugiura, Hiroshi Kawakami, Osamu Katai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a method for automatic design of the sensory morphology of a mobile robot. The proposed method employs two types of adaptations, ontogenetic and phylogenetic, to optimize the sensory morphology of the robot. In ontogenetic adaptation, reinforcement learning searches for the optimal policy, which is highly dependent on the sensory morphology. In phylogenetic adaptation, a genetic algorithm is used to select morphologies with which the robot can learn tasks faster. Our proposed method was applied to the design of the sensory morphology of a line-following robot. We performed simulation experiments to compare the design solution with a hand-coded robot. The results of the experiments revealed that our robot outperformed the hand-coded robot in terms of the following accuracy and learning speed, although our robot had fewer sensors than the hand-coded one. We also built a physical robot using the design solution. The experimental results revealed that this physical robot used its morphology effectively and outperformed the hand-coded robot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalElectrical Engineering in Japan (English translation of Denki Gakkai Ronbunshi)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological balance
  • Embodiment
  • Learning and evolution
  • Sensor evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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