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Behavior-based robotics or behavioral robotics is an approach in robotics that focuses on robots that are able to exhibit complex-appearing behaviors despite little internal variable state to model its immediate environment, mostly gradually correcting its actions via sensory-motor links.
Most behavior-based systems are also reactive, which means they need no programming of internal representations of what a chair looks like, or what kind of surface the robot is moving on. Instead all the information is gleaned from the input of the robot's sensors. The robot uses that information to gradually correct its actions according to the changes in immediate environment.
Behavior-based robots (BBR) usually show more biological-appearing actions than their computing-intensive counterparts, which are very deliberate in their actions. A BBR often makes mistakes, repeats actions, and appears confused, but can also show the anthropomorphic quality of tenacity. Comparisons between BBRs and insects are frequent because of these actions. BBRs are sometimes considered examples of weak artificial intelligence, although some have claimed they are models of all intelligence.
The school of behavior-based robots owes much to work undertaken in the 1980s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Rodney Brooks, who with students and colleagues built a series of wheeled and legged robots utilizing the subsumption architecture. Brooks' papers, often written with lighthearted titles such as "Planning is just a way of avoiding figuring out what to do next", the anthropomorphic qualities of his robots, and the relatively low cost of developing such robots, popularized the behavior-based approach.
Brooks' work builds -whether by accident or not- on two prior milestones in the behavior-based approach. In the 1950s, W. Grey Walter, an English scientist with a background in neurological research, built a pair of vacuum tube-based robots that were exhibited at the 1951 Festival of Britain, and which have simple but effective behavior-based control systems.
The second milestone is Valentino Braitenberg's 1984 book, "Vehicles - Experiments in Synthetic Psychology" (MIT Press). He describes a series of thought experiments demonstrating how simply wired sensor/motor connections can result in some complex-appearing behaviors such as fear and love.
Later work in BBR is from the BEAM robotics community, which has built upon the work of Mark Tilden. Tilden was inspired by the reduction in the computational power needed for walking mechanisms from Brooks' experiments (which used one microcontroller for each leg), and further reduced the computational requirements to that of logic chips, transistor-based electronics, and analog circuit design.
A different direction of development includes extensions of behavior-based robotics to multi-robot teams. The focus in this work is on developing simple generic mechanisms that result in coordinated group behavior, either implicitly or explicitly.
- Brooks, Rodney A. (1991). "Intelligence without representation". Artificial Intelligence. 47 (1–3): 139–59. doi:10.1016/0004-3702(91)90053-M.
- Parker, Lynne E. (1995). "On the design of behavior-based multi-robot teams". Advanced Robotics. 10 (6): 547–78. doi:10.1163/156855396X00228.
- Kaminka, Gal A.; Frenkel, Inna (2005). "Flexible teamwork in behavior-based robots". In Cohn, Anthony. Proceedings of the 20th national conference on Artificial intelligence. AAAI Press. pp. 108–13. ISBN 978-1-57735-236-5.
- Kaminka, Gal A.; Frenkel, Inna (2007). "Integration of Coordination Mechanisms in the BITE Multi-Robot Architecture". Proceedings 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. pp. 2859–66. doi:10.1109/ROBOT.2007.363905. ISBN 1-4244-0602-1.
- Jones, Joseph L. (2004). Robot Programming: A practical guide to Behavior-Based Robotics. ISBN 0-07-142778-3.
- Arkin, Ronald C. (1998). Behavior-Based Robotics. ISBN 9780262011655.