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Chapter 53 — Multiple Mobile Robot Systems

Lynne E. Parker, Daniela Rus and Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Within the context of multiple mobile, and networked robot systems, this chapter explores the current state of the art. After a brief introduction, we first examine architectures for multirobot cooperation, exploring the alternative approaches that have been developed. Next, we explore communications issues and their impact on multirobot teams in Sect. 53.3, followed by a discussion of networked mobile robots in Sect. 53.4. Following this we discuss swarm robot systems in Sect. 53.5 and modular robot systems in Sect. 53.6. While swarm and modular systems typically assume large numbers of homogeneous robots, other types of multirobot systems include heterogeneous robots. We therefore next discuss heterogeneity in cooperative robot teams in Sect. 53.7. Once robot teams allow for individual heterogeneity, issues of task allocation become important; Sect. 53.8 therefore discusses common approaches to task allocation. Section 53.9 discusses the challenges of multirobot learning, and some representative approaches. We outline some of the typical application domains which serve as test beds for multirobot systems research in Sect. 53.10. Finally, we conclude in Sect. 53.11 with some summary remarks and suggestions for further reading.

Formation control via a distributed controller-observer

Author  Gianluca Antonelli, Filippo Arrichiello, Fabrizio Caccavale, Alessandro Marino

Video ID : 293

This video shows an experiment of formation control with a multirobot system composed of Khepera III mobile robots using the distributed controller-observer schema.

Chapter 75 — Biologically Inspired Robotics

Fumiya Iida and Auke Jan Ijspeert

Throughout the history of robotics research, nature has been providing numerous ideas and inspirations to robotics engineers. Small insect-like robots, for example, usually make use of reflexive behaviors to avoid obstacles during locomotion, whereas large bipedal robots are designed to control complex human-like leg for climbing up and down stairs. While providing an overview of bio-inspired robotics, this chapter particularly focus on research which aims to employ robotics systems and technologies for our deeper understanding of biological systems. Unlike most of the other robotics research where researchers attempt to develop robotic applications, these types of bio-inspired robots are generally developed to test unsolved hypotheses in biological sciences. Through close collaborations between biologists and roboticists, bio-inspired robotics research contributes not only to elucidating challenging questions in nature but also to developing novel technologies for robotics applications. In this chapter, we first provide a brief historical background of this research area and then an overview of ongoing research methodologies. A few representative case studies will detail the successful instances in which robotics technologies help identifying biological hypotheses. And finally we discuss challenges and perspectives in the field.

Biologically inspired robotics (or bio-inspired robotics in short) is a very broad research area because almost all robotic systems are, in one way or the other, inspired from biological systems. Therefore, there is no clear distinction between bio-inspired robots and the others, and there is no commonly agreed definition [75.1]. For example, legged robots that walk, hop, and run are usually regarded as bio-inspired robots because many biological systems rely on legged locomotion for their survival. On the other hand, many robotics researchers implement biologicalmodels ofmotion control and navigation onto wheeled platforms, which could also be regarded as bio-inspired robots [75.2].

RobotRoach with adaptive gait-pattern variations

Author  Fumiya Iida, Auke Ijspeert

Video ID : 112

This video presents variations of adaptive-gait patterns inspired by insect locomotion. The computational models of central pattern generators were implemented on the physical platform to investigate its robustness and its flexibility of locomotion in many variations of its environment.

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.

Experiments of wheeled rovers in a sandbox covered with loose soil

Author  Field Robotics Group, Tohoku University

Video ID : 185

The lunar and Martian surfaces are covered with loose soil, and the wheels of rovers can get stuck on such surfaces. To avoid the problem, it is necessary to conduct thorough investigations into the contact and traction mechanics between the wheels and the soil. To this end, we conduct various experiments using wheeled rovers in a sandbox covered with loose soil. In the experiments, the slippage and sinkage of wheels with various geometries are measured. Based on these experimental observations, analysis and modelling of the motion behavior of wheels ensued.

Chapter 79 — Robotics for Education

David P. Miller and Illah Nourbakhsh

Educational robotics programs have become popular in most developed countries and are becoming more and more prevalent in the developing world as well. Robotics is used to teach problem solving, programming, design, physics, math and even music and art to students at all levels of their education. This chapter provides an overview of some of the major robotics programs along with the robot platforms and the programming environments commonly used. Like robot systems used in research, there is a constant development and upgrade of hardware and software – so this chapter provides a snapshot of the technologies being used at this time. The chapter concludes with a review of the assessment strategies that can be used to determine if a particular robotics program is benefitting students in the intended ways.

Robotics summer camps - PRIA

Author  Practical Robotics Institute Austria

Video ID : 636

This short video displays several of the activities available at PRIA's educational robotics summer camps in Europe. Details from: http://pria.at/en/ .

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.

Mobility prediction of rovers on soft terrain

Author  Daniel Holz, Ali Azimi, Marek Teichmann, Jozsef Kavecses

Video ID : 184

This video is an animated dynamic simulation of a vehicle traveling on sandy terrain. The simulator carefully considers mechanical interactions based on relationships between the wheel and the terrain and between the tool and the terrain. In particular, a discrete-element method is employed in order to represent the tool-sand interactions.

Terradynamics of legged locomotion for traversal in granular media

Author  Chen Li, Tingnan Zhang, Daniel Goldman

Video ID : 186

The experiments in this video evaluate the effect of leg shape on the robot's dynamic behavior on soft sand. Several types of leg shapes have been tested, e.g., from linear shapes to arcs, with varying curvatures.

Chapter 75 — Biologically Inspired Robotics

Fumiya Iida and Auke Jan Ijspeert

Throughout the history of robotics research, nature has been providing numerous ideas and inspirations to robotics engineers. Small insect-like robots, for example, usually make use of reflexive behaviors to avoid obstacles during locomotion, whereas large bipedal robots are designed to control complex human-like leg for climbing up and down stairs. While providing an overview of bio-inspired robotics, this chapter particularly focus on research which aims to employ robotics systems and technologies for our deeper understanding of biological systems. Unlike most of the other robotics research where researchers attempt to develop robotic applications, these types of bio-inspired robots are generally developed to test unsolved hypotheses in biological sciences. Through close collaborations between biologists and roboticists, bio-inspired robotics research contributes not only to elucidating challenging questions in nature but also to developing novel technologies for robotics applications. In this chapter, we first provide a brief historical background of this research area and then an overview of ongoing research methodologies. A few representative case studies will detail the successful instances in which robotics technologies help identifying biological hypotheses. And finally we discuss challenges and perspectives in the field.

Biologically inspired robotics (or bio-inspired robotics in short) is a very broad research area because almost all robotic systems are, in one way or the other, inspired from biological systems. Therefore, there is no clear distinction between bio-inspired robots and the others, and there is no commonly agreed definition [75.1]. For example, legged robots that walk, hop, and run are usually regarded as bio-inspired robots because many biological systems rely on legged locomotion for their survival. On the other hand, many robotics researchers implement biologicalmodels ofmotion control and navigation onto wheeled platforms, which could also be regarded as bio-inspired robots [75.2].

Analog Robot

Author  Fumiya Iida, Auke Ijspeert

Video ID : 242

This video presents Analog Robot that uses a biologically- inspired, visual-homing method for navigation. This robot is equipped with a set of analog circuitry for vision-based landmark navigation based on the mechanisms identified in biological systems, the so-called "snapshot model". The image registered at the start of the experiment will be used as a reference frame, and the analog circuitry finds a direction to travel by comparing it with the current frame.

Chapter 4 — Mechanism and Actuation

Victor Scheinman, J. Michael McCarthy and Jae-Bok Song

This chapter focuses on the principles that guide the design and construction of robotic systems. The kinematics equations and Jacobian of the robot characterize its range of motion and mechanical advantage, and guide the selection of its size and joint arrangement. The tasks a robot is to perform and the associated precision of its movement determine detailed features such as mechanical structure, transmission, and actuator selection. Here we discuss in detail both the mathematical tools and practical considerations that guide the design of mechanisms and actuation for a robot system.

The following sections (Sect. 4.1) discuss characteristics of the mechanisms and actuation that affect the performance of a robot. Sections 4.2–4.6 discuss the basic features of a robot manipulator and their relationship to the mathematical model that is used to characterize its performance. Sections 4.7 and 4.8 focus on the details of the structure and actuation of the robot and how they combine to yield various types of robots. The final Sect. 4.9 relates these design features to various performance metrics.

SCARA robots

Author  Adept Technology Inc

Video ID : 644

Fig. 4.20 The Adept robot uses closed-loop control and variable-reluctance motors.

Chapter 40 — Mobility and Manipulation

Oliver Brock, Jaeheung Park and Marc Toussaint

Mobile manipulation requires the integration of methodologies from all aspects of robotics. Instead of tackling each aspect in isolation,mobilemanipulation research exploits their interdependence to solve challenging problems. As a result, novel views of long-standing problems emerge. In this chapter, we present these emerging views in the areas of grasping, control, motion generation, learning, and perception. All of these areas must address the shared challenges of high-dimensionality, uncertainty, and task variability. The section on grasping and manipulation describes a trend towards actively leveraging contact and physical and dynamic interactions between hand, object, and environment. Research in control addresses the challenges of appropriately coupling mobility and manipulation. The field of motion generation increasingly blurs the boundaries between control and planning, leading to task-consistent motion in high-dimensional configuration spaces, even in dynamic and partially unknown environments. A key challenge of learning formobilemanipulation consists of identifying the appropriate priors, and we survey recent learning approaches to perception, grasping, motion, and manipulation. Finally, a discussion of promising methods in perception shows how concepts and methods from navigation and active perception are applied.

CHOMP trajectory optimization

Author   Nathan Ratliff, Matt Zucker, J. Andrew Bagnell, Siddhartha Srinivasa

Video ID : 665

Covariant functional gradient techniques for motion planning via optimization. Computer simulations and video demonstrations based on two experimental platforms: Barrett Technologies WAM arm and Boston Dynamics LittleDog.

Chapter 9 — Force Control

Luigi Villani and Joris De Schutter

A fundamental requirement for the success of a manipulation task is the capability to handle the physical contact between a robot and the environment. Pure motion control turns out to be inadequate because the unavoidable modeling errors and uncertainties may cause a rise of the contact force, ultimately leading to an unstable behavior during the interaction, especially in the presence of rigid environments. Force feedback and force control becomes mandatory to achieve a robust and versatile behavior of a robotic system in poorly structured environments as well as safe and dependable operation in the presence of humans. This chapter starts from the analysis of indirect force control strategies, conceived to keep the contact forces limited by ensuring a suitable compliant behavior to the end effector, without requiring an accurate model of the environment. Then the problem of interaction tasks modeling is analyzed, considering both the case of a rigid environment and the case of a compliant environment. For the specification of an interaction task, natural constraints set by the task geometry and artificial constraints set by the control strategy are established, with respect to suitable task frames. This formulation is the essential premise to the synthesis of hybrid force/motion control schemes.

Compliant robot motion: Control and task specification

Author  Joris De Schutter

Video ID : 687

The video contains work developed in the PhD thesis of Joris De Schutter, where the concept of compliant motion based on external force feedback loops and on the task frame formalism to specify interaction tasks were introduced. The video was recorded in 1984. The references for this video are 1. J. De Schutter, H. Van Brussel: Compliant robot motion II. A control approach based on external control loops, Int. J. Robot. Res. 7(4), 18-33 (1988) 2. J. De Schutter, H. Van Brussel: Compliant robot motion I. A formalism for specifying compliant motion tasks, Int. J. Robot. Res. 7(4), 3-17 (1988)