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Chapter 56 — Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry

Marcel Bergerman, John Billingsley, John Reid and Eldert van Henten

Robotics for agriculture and forestry (A&F) represents the ultimate application of one of our society’s latest and most advanced innovations to its most ancient and important industries. Over the course of history, mechanization and automation increased crop output several orders of magnitude, enabling a geometric growth in population and an increase in quality of life across the globe. Rapid population growth and rising incomes in developing countries, however, require ever larger amounts of A&F output. This chapter addresses robotics for A&F in the form of case studies where robotics is being successfully applied to solve well-identified problems. With respect to plant crops, the focus is on the in-field or in-farm tasks necessary to guarantee a quality crop and, generally speaking, end at harvest time. In the livestock domain, the focus is on breeding and nurturing, exploiting, harvesting, and slaughtering and processing. The chapter is organized in four main sections. The first one explains the scope, in particular, what aspects of robotics for A&F are dealt with in the chapter. The second one discusses the challenges and opportunities associated with the application of robotics to A&F. The third section is the core of the chapter, presenting twenty case studies that showcase (mostly) mature applications of robotics in various agricultural and forestry domains. The case studies are not meant to be comprehensive but instead to give the reader a general overview of how robotics has been applied to A&F in the last 10 years. The fourth section concludes the chapter with a discussion on specific improvements to current technology and paths to commercialization.

Smart Seeder: An autonomous high-accuracy, seed planter for broad-acre crops

Author  Jay Katupitiya

Video ID : 131

This video shows highly accurate (within 2 cm) guidance of a tractor and an implement. The tractor is speed-controlled and follows a specified path very accurately. The implement is a seed planter which also follows the same path with the same accuracy. The implement has its own power unit. Its wheels are steerable and driven under force control as demanded by the force sensor at the hitch point. This relieves the tractor from having to pull the implement with full force, and hence it can be a smaller machine. Highly precise planting and path- following repeatability enables plant-level care which significantly reduce the chemical use, hence reducing adverse environmental effects and cost.

Chapter 10 — Redundant Robots

Stefano Chiaverini, Giuseppe Oriolo and Anthony A. Maciejewski

This chapter focuses on redundancy resolution schemes, i. e., the techniques for exploiting the redundant degrees of freedom in the solution of the inverse kinematics problem. This is obviously an issue of major relevance for motion planning and control purposes.

In particular, task-oriented kinematics and the basic methods for its inversion at the velocity (first-order differential) level are first recalled, with a discussion of the main techniques for handling kinematic singularities. Next, different firstorder methods to solve kinematic redundancy are arranged in two main categories, namely those based on the optimization of suitable performance criteria and those relying on the augmentation of the task space. Redundancy resolution methods at the acceleration (second-order differential) level are then considered in order to take into account dynamics issues, e.g., torque minimization. Conditions under which a cyclic task motion results in a cyclic joint motion are also discussed; this is a major issue when a redundant manipulator is used to execute a repetitive task, e.g., in industrial applications. The use of kinematic redundancy for fault tolerance is analyzed in detail. Suggestions for further reading are given in a final section.

KUKA LBR iiwa - Kinematic Redundancy

Author  KUKA Roboter GmbH

Video ID : 813

The video shows the robot dexterity achieved by kinematic redundancy and illustrates the basic concept of self-motion (here called null-space motion).

Chapter 35 — Multisensor Data Fusion

Hugh Durrant-Whyte and Thomas C. Henderson

Multisensor data fusion is the process of combining observations from a number of different sensors to provide a robust and complete description of an environment or process of interest. Data fusion finds wide application in many areas of robotics such as object recognition, environment mapping, and localization.

This chapter has three parts: methods, architectures, and applications. Most current data fusion methods employ probabilistic descriptions of observations and processes and use Bayes’ rule to combine this information. This chapter surveys the main probabilistic modeling and fusion techniques including grid-based models, Kalman filtering, and sequential Monte Carlo techniques. This chapter also briefly reviews a number of nonprobabilistic data fusion methods. Data fusion systems are often complex combinations of sensor devices, processing, and fusion algorithms. This chapter provides an overview of key principles in data fusion architectures from both a hardware and algorithmic viewpoint. The applications of data fusion are pervasive in robotics and underly the core problem of sensing, estimation, and perception. We highlight two example applications that bring out these features. The first describes a navigation or self-tracking application for an autonomous vehicle. The second describes an application in mapping and environment modeling.

The essential algorithmic tools of data fusion are reasonably well established. However, the development and use of these tools in realistic robotics applications is still developing.

AnnieWay

Author  Thomas C. Henderson

Video ID : 132

This is a video showing the multisensor autonomous vehicle merging into traffic.

Chapter 23 — Biomimetic Robots

Kyu-Jin Cho and Robert Wood

Biomimetic robot designs attempt to translate biological principles into engineered systems, replacing more classical engineering solutions in order to achieve a function observed in the natural system. This chapter will focus on mechanism design for bio-inspired robots that replicate key principles from nature with novel engineering solutions. The challenges of biomimetic design include developing a deep understanding of the relevant natural system and translating this understanding into engineering design rules. This often entails the development of novel fabrication and actuation to realize the biomimetic design.

This chapter consists of four sections. In Sect. 23.1, we will define what biomimetic design entails, and contrast biomimetic robots with bio-inspired robots. In Sect. 23.2, we will discuss the fundamental components for developing a biomimetic robot. In Sect. 23.3, we will review detailed biomimetic designs that have been developed for canonical robot locomotion behaviors including flapping-wing flight, jumping, crawling, wall climbing, and swimming. In Sect. 23.4, we will discuss the enabling technologies for these biomimetic designs including material and fabrication.

GoQBot: Insanely fast robot caterpillar

Author  Huai-Ti Lin, Gary Leisk, Barry Trimmer

Video ID : 291

The GoQBot is a soft-bodied silicon rubber robot which uses a ballistic rolling technique powered by actuators made out of shape-memory alloy coils to move "crazy fast"; its push-off time is under 250 ms, and it spins at 300 rpm.

Chapter 41 — Active Manipulation for Perception

Anna Petrovskaya and Kaijen Hsiao

This chapter covers perceptual methods in which manipulation is an integral part of perception. These methods face special challenges due to data sparsity and high costs of sensing actions. However, they can also succeed where other perceptual methods fail, for example, in poor-visibility conditions or for learning the physical properties of a scene.

The chapter focuses on specialized methods that have been developed for object localization, inference, planning, recognition, and modeling in activemanipulation approaches.We concludewith a discussion of real-life applications and directions for future research.

Touch-based, door-handle localization and manipulation

Author  Anna Petrovskaya

Video ID : 723

The harmonic arm robot localizes the door handle by touching it. 3-DOF localization is performed in this video. Once the localization is complete, the robot is able to grasp and manipulate the handle. The mobile platform is teleoperated, whereas the robotic arm motions are autonomous. A 2-D model of the door and handle was constructed from hand measurements for this experiment.

Chapter 18 — Parallel Mechanisms

Jean-Pierre Merlet, Clément Gosselin and Tian Huang

This chapter presents an introduction to the kinematics and dynamics of parallel mechanisms, also referred to as parallel robots. As opposed to classical serial manipulators, the kinematic architecture of parallel robots includes closed-loop kinematic chains. As a consequence, their analysis differs considerably from that of their serial counterparts. This chapter aims at presenting the fundamental formulations and techniques used in their analysis.

Quadrupteron robot

Author  Clément Gosselin

Video ID : 52

This video demonstrates a 4-DOF partially decoupled scara-type parallel robot (Quadrupteron). References: 1. P.L. Richard, C. Gosselin, X. Kong: Kinematic analysis and prototyping of a partially decoupled 4-DOF 3T1R parallel manipulator, ASME J. Mech. Des. 129(6), 611-616 (2007); 2. X. Kong, C. Gosselin: Forward displacement analysis of a quadratic 4-DOF 3T1R parallel manipulator: The Quadrupteron, Meccanica 46(1), 147-154 (2011); 3. C. Gosselin: Compact dynamic models for the tripteron and quadrupteron parallel manipulators, J. Syst. Control Eng. 223(I1), 1-11 (2009)

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.

CKBOTS reconfigurable robots

Author  Mark Yim

Video ID : 196

This video shows reconfigurable robots, which are capable of a variety of configurations and modes of locomotion, including bipeds that can stand up and walk. This system is robust in a variety of situations, as shown in the video. The system has three clusters: when clusters disconnect, they enter a search mode and approach each other to assemble. After successful self-reassembling, the robot system stands up to continue its task.

Chapter 11 — Robots with Flexible Elements

Alessandro De Luca and Wayne J. Book

Design issues, dynamic modeling, trajectory planning, and feedback control problems are presented for robot manipulators having components with mechanical flexibility, either concentrated at the joints or distributed along the links. The chapter is divided accordingly into two main parts. Similarities or differences between the two types of flexibility are pointed out wherever appropriate.

For robots with flexible joints, the dynamic model is derived in detail by following a Lagrangian approach and possible simplified versions are discussed. The problem of computing the nominal torques that produce a desired robot motion is then solved. Regulation and trajectory tracking tasks are addressed by means of linear and nonlinear feedback control designs.

For robots with flexible links, relevant factors that lead to the consideration of distributed flexibility are analyzed. Dynamic models are presented, based on the treatment of flexibility through lumped elements, transfer matrices, or assumed modes. Several specific issues are then highlighted, including the selection of sensors, the model order used for control design, and the generation of effective commands that reduce or eliminate residual vibrations in rest-to-rest maneuvers. Feedback control alternatives are finally discussed.

In each of the two parts of this chapter, a section is devoted to the illustration of the original references and to further readings on the subject.

Rest-to-rest motion for a flexible link

Author  Alessandro De Luca

Video ID : 779

This 2003 video shows a planar one-link flexible arm executing a desired rest-to-rest motion in a given finite time (90 deg in 2 s). Link deformations vanish completely at the desired final time. The applied control law is the combination of a model-based feedforward command designed for a smooth trajectory assigned to the flat output of the system and of a stabilizing PID feedback action on the joint angle around its associated trajectory. References: 1. A. De Luca, G. Di Giovanni: Rest-to-rest motion of a one-link flexible arm, Proc. IEEE/ASME Int. Conf. Adv. Intell. Mechatron., Como (2001), pp. 923-928; doi: 10.1109/AIM.2001.936793; 2. A. De Luca, V. Caiano, D. Del Vescovo: Experiments on rest-to-rest motion of a flexible arm, in B. Siciliano, P. Dario (Eds), Experimental Robotics VIII, Springer Tract. Adv. Robot. 5, 338-349 (2003); doi: 10.1007/3-540-36268-1_30

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.

Biologically-inspired, multi-vehicle control algorithm

Author  Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Video ID : 197

This video demonstrates a behavior-based control algorithm for autonomous operations in militarily-useful scenarios on numerous hardware platforms. This video shows that the algorithm is robust in complex operational environments, enabling the autonomous vehicle to react quickly to changing battlefield conditions.

Reconfigurable multi-agents with distributed sensing for robust mobile robots

Author  Robin Murphy

Video ID : 206

In marsupial teams, a mother robot carries one or more daughter robots. This video shows that a mother robot can opportunistically treat daughter robots as surrogate sensors in order to autonomously reconfigure herself to recover from sensor failures.