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Chapter 76 — Evolutionary Robotics

Stefano Nolfi, Josh Bongard, Phil Husbands and Dario Floreano

Evolutionary Robotics is a method for automatically generating artificial brains and morphologies of autonomous robots. This approach is useful both for investigating the design space of robotic applications and for testing scientific hypotheses of biological mechanisms and processes. In this chapter we provide an overview of methods and results of Evolutionary Robotics with robots of different shapes, dimensions, and operation features. We consider both simulated and physical robots with special consideration to the transfer between the two worlds.

Morphological change in an autonomous robot.

Author  Josh Bongard

Video ID : 771

This video demonstrates a robot that is able to change its morphology. It is here shown that this change enables evolution to create useful controllers for this robot faster than a comparable robot that does not undergo morphological change.

Chapter 26 — Flying Robots

Stefan Leutenegger, Christoph Hürzeler, Amanda K. Stowers, Kostas Alexis, Markus W. Achtelik, David Lentink, Paul Y. Oh and Roland Siegwart

Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) have drawn increasing attention recently, owing to advancements in related research, technology, and applications. While having been deployed successfully in military scenarios for decades, civil use cases have lately been tackled by the robotics research community.

This chapter overviews the core elements of this highly interdisciplinary field; the reader is guided through the design process of aerial robots for various applications starting with a qualitative characterization of different types of UAS. Design and modeling are closely related, forming a typically iterative process of drafting and analyzing the related properties. Therefore, we overview aerodynamics and dynamics, as well as their application to fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and flapping-wing UAS, including related analytical tools and practical guidelines. Respecting use-case-specific requirements and core autonomous robot demands, we finally provide guidelines to related system integration challenges.

Flight stability in aerial redundant manipulators

Author  Christopher Korpela, Matko Orsag, Todd Danko, Bryan Kobe, Clayton McNeil, Robert Pisch, Paul Oh

Video ID : 693

Aerial manipulation tests conducted by the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab.

Chapter 50 — Modeling and Control of Robots on Rough Terrain

Keiji Nagatani, Genya Ishigami and Yoshito Okada

In this chapter, we introduce modeling and control for wheeled mobile robots and tracked vehicles. The target environment is rough terrains, which includes both deformable soil and heaps of rubble. Therefore, the topics are roughly divided into two categories, wheeled robots on deformable soil and tracked vehicles on heaps of rubble.

After providing an overview of this area in Sect. 50.1, a modeling method of wheeled robots on a deformable terrain is introduced in Sect. 50.2. It is based on terramechanics, which is the study focusing on the mechanical properties of natural rough terrain and its response to off-road vehicle, specifically the interaction between wheel/track and soil. In Sect. 50.3, the control of wheeled robots is introduced. A wheeled robot often experiences wheel slippage as well as its sideslip while traversing rough terrain. Therefore, the basic approach in this section is to compensate the slip via steering and driving maneuvers. In the case of navigation on heaps of rubble, tracked vehicles have much advantage. To improve traversability in such challenging environments, some tracked vehicles are equipped with subtracks, and one kinematical modeling method of tracked vehicle on rough terrain is introduced in Sect. 50.4. In addition, stability analysis of such vehicles is introduced in Sect. 50.5. Based on such kinematical model and stability analysis, a sensor-based control of tracked vehicle on rough terrain is introduced in Sect. 50.6. Sect. 50.7 summarizes this chapter.

Interactive, human-robot supervision test with the long-range science rover for Mars exploration

Author  Samad Hayati, Richard Volpe, Paul Backes, J. (Bob) Balaram, Richard Welch, Robert Ivlev, Gregory Tharp, Steve Peters, Tim Ohm, Richard Petras

Video ID : 187

This video records a demonstration of the long-range rover mission on the surface of Mars. The Mars rover, the test bed Rocky 7, performs several demonstrations including 3-D terrain mapping using the panoramic camera, telescience over the internet, an autonomous mobility test, and soil sampling. This demonstration was among the preliminary tests for the Mars Pathfinder mission executed in 1997.

Chapter 43 — Telerobotics

Günter Niemeyer, Carsten Preusche, Stefano Stramigioli and Dongjun Lee

In this chapter we present an overview of the field of telerobotics with a focus on control aspects. To acknowledge some of the earliest contributions and motivations the field has provided to robotics in general, we begin with a brief historical perspective and discuss some of the challenging applications. Then, after introducing and classifying the various system architectures and control strategies, we emphasize bilateral control and force feedback. This particular area has seen intense research work in the pursuit of telepresence. We also examine some of the emerging efforts, extending telerobotic concepts to unconventional systems and applications. Finally,we suggest some further reading for a closer engagement with the field.

Semi-autonomous teleoperation of multiple UAVs: Passing a narrow gap

Author  Antonio Franchi, Paolo Robuffo Giordano

Video ID : 71

This video shows the bilateral teleoperation of a group of four quadrotors UAVs navigating in a cluttered environment. The human operator provides velocity-level motion commands and receives force-feedback information on the UAV interaction with the environment (e.g., presence of obstacles and external disturbances).

Chapter 51 — Modeling and Control of Underwater Robots

Gianluca Antonelli, Thor I. Fossen and Dana R. Yoerger

This chapter deals with modeling and control of underwater robots. First, a brief introduction showing the constantly expanding role of marine robotics in oceanic engineering is given; this section also contains some historical backgrounds. Most of the following sections strongly overlap with the corresponding chapters presented in this handbook; hence, to avoid useless repetitions, only those aspects peculiar to the underwater environment are discussed, assuming that the reader is already familiar with concepts such as fault detection systems when discussing the corresponding underwater implementation. Themodeling section is presented by focusing on a coefficient-based approach capturing the most relevant underwater dynamic effects. Two sections dealing with the description of the sensor and the actuating systems are then given. Autonomous underwater vehicles require the implementation of mission control system as well as guidance and control algorithms. Underwater localization is also discussed. Underwater manipulation is then briefly approached. Fault detection and fault tolerance, together with the coordination control of multiple underwater vehicles, conclude the theoretical part of the chapter. Two final sections, reporting some successful applications and discussing future perspectives, conclude the chapter. The reader is referred to Chap. 25 for the design issues.

Multi-vehicle bathymetry mission

Author  Laboratario de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquaticas - Porto University / The NOPTILUS project

Video ID : 323

Two LAUV vehicles perform a bathymetry mission inside Porto Harbor. This video shows the deployment, execution, and data-revision phases of the mission. NOPTILUS is funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme ICT-FP.

Chapter 65 — Domestic Robotics

Erwin Prassler, Mario E. Munich, Paolo Pirjanian and Kazuhiro Kosuge

When the first edition of this book was published domestic robots were spoken of as a dream that was slowly becoming reality. At that time, in 2008, we looked back on more than twenty years of research and development in domestic robotics, especially in cleaning robotics. Although everybody expected cleaning to be the killer app for domestic robotics in the first half of these twenty years nothing big really happened. About ten years before the first edition of this book appeared, all of a sudden things started moving. Several small, but also some larger enterprises announced that they would soon launch domestic cleaning robots. The robotics community was anxiously awaiting these first cleaning robots and so were consumers. The big burst, however, was yet to come. The price tag of those cleaning robots was far beyond what people were willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner. It took another four years until, in 2002, a small and inexpensive device, which was not even called a cleaning robot, brought the first breakthrough: Roomba. Sales of the Roomba quickly passed the first million robots and increased rapidly. While for the first years after Roomba’s release, the big players remained on the sidelines, possibly to revise their own designs and, in particular their business models and price tags, some other small players followed quickly and came out with their own products. We reported about theses devices and their creators in the first edition. Since then the momentum in the field of domestics robotics has steadily increased. Nowadays most big appliance manufacturers have domestic cleaning robots in their portfolio. We are not only seeing more and more domestic cleaning robots and lawn mowers on the market, but we are also seeing new types of domestic robots, window cleaners, plant watering robots, tele-presence robots, domestic surveillance robots, and robotic sports devices. Some of these new types of domestic robots are still prototypes or concept studies. Others have already crossed the threshold to becoming commercial products.

For the second edition of this chapter, we have decided to not only enumerate the devices that have emerged and survived in the past five years, but also to take a look back at how it all began, contrasting this retrospection with the burst of progress in the past five years in domestic cleaning robotics. We will not describe and discuss in detail every single cleaning robot that has seen the light of the day, but select those that are representative for the evolution of the technology as well as the market. We will also reserve some space for new types of mobile domestic robots, which will be the success stories or failures for the next edition of this chapter. Further we will look into nonmobile domestic robots, also called smart appliances, and examine their fate. Last but not least, we will look at the recent developments in the area of intelligent homes that surround and, at times, also control the mobile domestic robots and smart appliances described in the preceding sections.

Telepresence robot in action

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 741

Video by MIT Technology Review featuring the telepresence robot VGo.

Chapter 47 — Motion Planning and Obstacle Avoidance

Javier Minguez, Florant Lamiraux and Jean-Paul Laumond

This chapter describes motion planning and obstacle avoidance for mobile robots. We will see how the two areas do not share the same modeling background. From the very beginning of motion planning, research has been dominated by computer sciences. Researchers aim at devising well-grounded algorithms with well-understood completeness and exactness properties.

The challenge of this chapter is to present both nonholonomic motion planning (Sects. 47.1–47.6) and obstacle avoidance (Sects. 47.7–47.10) issues. Section 47.11 reviews recent successful approaches that tend to embrace the whole problemofmotion planning and motion control. These approaches benefit from both nonholonomic motion planning and obstacle avoidance methods.

Robotic wheelchair: Autonomous navigation with Google Glass

Author  Personal Robotics Group - OSU

Video ID : 709

For people with extreme disabilities such as ALS or quadriplegia, it is often hard to move about on their own and interact with their environments due to their immobility. Our work - nicknamed "Project Chiron" - attempts to alleviate some of this immobility with a kit that can be used on any Permobil-brand wheelchair.

Chapter 17 — Limbed Systems

Shuuji Kajita and Christian Ott

A limbed system is a mobile robot with a body, legs and arms. First, its general design process is discussed in Sect. 17.1. Then we consider issues of conceptual design and observe designs of various existing robots in Sect. 17.2. As an example in detail, the design of a humanoid robot HRP-4C is shown in Sect. 17.3. To design a limbed system of good performance, it is important to take into account of actuation and control, like gravity compensation, limit cycle dynamics, template models, and backdrivable actuation. These are discussed in Sect. 17.4.

In Sect. 17.5, we overview divergence of limbed systems. We see odd legged walkers, leg–wheel hybrid robots, leg–arm hybrid robots, tethered walking robots, and wall-climbing robots. To compare limbed systems of different configurations,we can use performance indices such as the gait sensitivity norm, the Froude number, and the specific resistance, etc., which are introduced in Sect. 17.6.

Torque-controlled humanoid robot TORO

Author  Christian Ott

Video ID : 531

A torque-controlled humanoid robot TORO developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Chapter 69 — Physical Human-Robot Interaction

Sami Haddadin and Elizabeth Croft

Over the last two decades, the foundations for physical human–robot interaction (pHRI) have evolved from successful developments in mechatronics, control, and planning, leading toward safer lightweight robot designs and interaction control schemes that advance beyond the current capacities of existing high-payload and highprecision position-controlled industrial robots. Based on their ability to sense physical interaction, render compliant behavior along the robot structure, plan motions that respect human preferences, and generate interaction plans for collaboration and coaction with humans, these novel robots have opened up novel and unforeseen application domains, and have advanced the field of human safety in robotics.

This chapter gives an overview on the state of the art in pHRI as of the date of publication. First, the advances in human safety are outlined, addressing topics in human injury analysis in robotics and safety standards for pHRI. Then, the foundations of human-friendly robot design, including the development of lightweight and intrinsically flexible force/torque-controlled machines together with the required perception abilities for interaction are introduced. Subsequently, motionplanning techniques for human environments, including the domains of biomechanically safe, risk-metric-based, human-aware planning are covered. Finally, the rather recent problem of interaction planning is summarized, including the issues of collaborative action planning, the definition of the interaction planning problem, and an introduction to robot reflexes and reactive control architecture for pHRI.

An assistive, decision-and-control architecture for force-sensitive, hand-arm systems driven via human-machine interfaces (MM1)

Author  Jörn Vogel, Sami Haddadin, John D. Simeral, Daniel Bacher , Beata Jarosiewicz, Leigh R. Hochberg, John P. Donoghue, Patrick van der Smagt

Video ID : 619

The video shows the "grasp" and "release" skills demonstrated in a 1-D control task using the Braingate2 neural-interface system. The robot is controlled through a multipriority Cartesian impedance controller and its behavior is extended with collision detection and reflex reaction. Furthermore, virtual workspaces are added to ensure safety. On top of this, a decision-and-control architecture, which uses sensory information available from the robotic system to evaluate the current state of task execution, is employed.

Chapter 58 — Robotics in Hazardous Applications

James Trevelyan, William R. Hamel and Sung-Chul Kang

Robotics researchers have worked hard to realize a long-awaited vision: machines that can eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous environments. Chapter 60 is framed by the vision of disaster response: search and rescue robots carrying people from burning buildings or tunneling through collapsed rock falls to reach trapped miners. In this chapter we review tangible progress towards robots that perform routine work in places too dangerous for humans. Researchers still have many challenges ahead of them but there has been remarkable progress in some areas. Hazardous environments present special challenges for the accomplishment of desired tasks depending on the nature and magnitude of the hazards. Hazards may be present in the form of radiation, toxic contamination, falling objects or potential explosions. Technology that specialized engineering companies can develop and sell without active help from researchers marks the frontier of commercial feasibility. Just inside this border lie teleoperated robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and for underwater engineering work. Even with the typical tenfold disadvantage in manipulation performance imposed by the limits of today’s telepresence and teleoperation technology, in terms of human dexterity and speed, robots often can offer a more cost-effective solution. However, most routine applications in hazardous environments still lie far beyond the feasibility frontier. Fire fighting, remediating nuclear contamination, reactor decommissioning, tunneling, underwater engineering, underground mining and clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance still present many unsolved problems.

Robots answer nuclear-waste challenges at SRS

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 593

Promotional video to reassure citizens that earnest efforts are being made to remove historical nuclear contamination from their neighbourhood. It is not clear how effective the robotic devices were in practice, however.