CS63 HW7: Braitenberg Vehicles

Due by noon Friday, Nov. 30

You should work alone on this assignment. Do an update63 to get the starting point files.


Valentino Braitenberg is a neuroscientist who wrote a book called Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology that was first published in 1984. He proposed studying principles of intelligence through a series of successively complex machines, which he called vehicles. The design of these vehicles have a strong biological motivation based on his many years of research on brains. Originally he intended this to be purely a thought experiment, but many of these vehicles can be easily implemented in simple robots. These vehicles demonstrate that even extremely simple mechanisms, when embodied in a robot that is situated in a rich environment, can exhibit surprisingly complex behaviors.

Here are several quotes from his book:

The purpose of this assignment is to give you the chance to build your own Braitenberg vehicles. You should create a world and a collection of vehicles that interact in interesting ways. Then you will test out Braitenberg's hypothesis that when we observe a mechanism we tend to over estimate its complexity. To do this you will ask two individuals to watch and describe the behavior of of the vehicles in your world.

Implementation details


Once you are satisfied with your programs and summary of observations, hand them in by typing handin63 at the unix prompt.