This article comparatively tests three cooperative co-evolution methods for automated controller design in simulated robot teams. Collective Neuro-Evolution (CONE) co-evolves multiple robot controllers using emergent behavioral specialization in order to increase collective behavior task performance. CONE is comparatively evaluated with two related controller design methods in a collective construction task. The task requires robots to gather building blocks and assemble the blocks in specific sequences in order to build structures. Results indicate that for the team sizes tested, CONE yields a higher collective behavior task performance (comparative to related methods) as a consequence of its capability to evolve specialized behaviors. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.