Braitenberg vehicles


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In robotics, the Braitenberg vehicle is the product of the thought process of Valentino Braitenberg who believed that by linking and cross-linking sensors directly to the actuators in robots, it would be possible to create vehicles showing a rich behaviour despite their simple control system. This is the underlying principle of the sense-act model.

A simple Braitenberg vehicle would be constructed with two symmetric light sensors at the front directly wired to two motors powering the wheels at the back. The propulsion of the motors is directly proportional to the signal being detected by the sensors. When the vehicle is constructed so that each sensor is connected to the motor at the same side of the body, the vehicle would behave as being repulsed by the light source (i) since the sensor closer to the light would measure more light, and as such the motor speed increases at this side turning the vehicle away from the light source. This is called light-avoiding behaviour. Similarly, when sensors and motors are crossed-wired, the vehicle behaves as it is attracted to the light source (ii), since the sensor that measures more light would stimulate the motor at the other side so turning the vehicle towards the light source. We call this light-seeking behaviour. (However, in each case when the light source is dead ahead, the vehicle would move straight into the light source.)

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