Roland Piquepaille writes "If the theory of evolution has worked well for us -- even if this is arguable these days -- why not apply it to mobile robots?, asks Technology Research News. Several U.S. researchers just did that and trained neural networks to play the Capture the flag game. Once the neural networks were good enough at the game, they transferred them to the robots' onboard computers. These teams of mobile robots, named EvBots (for Evolution Robots), were then also able to play the game successfully. This method could be used to build environment-aware autonomous robots able to clear a minefield or find heat sources in a collapsed building within 3 to 6 years. But the researchers want to build controllers for robots that adapt to completely unknown environments. And this will not happen before 10 or maybe 50 years. You'll find more details and references in this overview, including a picture of EvBots trying to find their way during a game." Read on for a similar robot competition held this weekend in France.
saunabad writes "The annual Eurobot autonomous robot contest for amateurs is held this weekend on La Férte-Bernard, France. This year's theme is 'coconut rugby,' and the robots are collecting small stress balls from the field and carrying them to the opponent's end, or shooting them in the rugby goal, while avoiding the randomly placed obstacles at the same time. Each team has a one main robot and an optional small assisting robot."