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Behavior-Based Robotics


While behavior-based robotics is a relatively new field as academic fields go, it is possible to find historical predecessors. Ronald Arkin looks all the way back to 1947, when cybernetics used control theory, information science and biology to seek principles common to biological life and machine intelligence. It is generally agreed that W. Grey Walter’s Tortoise, a small robot made from vacuum tubes, was the first behavior-based robot. It had no high-level knowledge and could not translate its actions into symbolic meaning. However, it could effectively exhibit certain behaviors such as backing away from strong light and heading toward weak light. It did not model human intelligence or “cognition” of any kind; rather, it provided reactive response without reliance on representation. The complexity of the action produced lay not in the design but in the behavior that arose through interaction with a chaotic world. (Arkin 1998)

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