One of the most desired features of autonomous robotic systems is their ability to accomplish complex tasks with a minimum amount of sensory information. Often, however, the limited amount of information (simplicity of sensors) should be compensated by more precise and complex control. An optimal tradeoff between the simplicity of sensors and control would result in robots featuring better robustness, higher throughput of production and lower production costs, reduced energy consumption, and the potential to be implemented at very small scales. In our work we focus on a society of very simple robots (modeled as agents in a multi-agent system) that feature an “extreme simplicity” of both sensors and control. The agents have a single line-of-sight sensor, two wheels in a differential drive configuration as effectors, and a controller that does not involve any computing, but rather—a direct mapping of the currently perceived environmental state into a pair of velocities of the two wheels. Also, we applied genetic algorithms to evolve a mapping that results in effective behavior of the team of predator agents, towards the goal of capturing the prey in the predator-prey pursuit problem (PPPP), and demonstrated that the simple agents featuring the canonical (straightforward) sensory morphology could hardly solve the PPPP. To enhance the performance of the evolved system of predator agents, we propose an asymmetric morphology featuring an angular offset of the sensor, relative to the longitudinal axis. The experimental results show that this change brings a considerable improvement of both the efficiency of evolution and the effectiveness of the evolved capturing behavior of agents. Finally, we verified that some of the best-evolved behaviors of predators with sensor offset of 20° are both (i) general in that they successfully resolve most of the additionally introduced, unforeseen initial situations, and (ii) robust to perception noise in that they show a limited degradation of the number of successfully solved initial situations.
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