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Chapter 24 — Wheeled Robots

Woojin Chung and Karl Iagnemma

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce, analyze, and compare various wheeled mobile robots (WMRs) and to present several realizations and commonly encountered designs. The mobility of WMR is discussed on the basis of the kinematic constraints resulting from the pure rolling conditions at the contact points between the wheels and the ground. Practical robot structures are classified according to the number of wheels, and features are introduced focusing on commonly adopted designs. Omnimobile robot and articulated robots realizations are described. Wheel–terrain interaction models are presented in order to compute forces at the contact interface. Four possible wheel-terrain interaction cases are shown on the basis of relative stiffness of the wheel and terrain. A suspension system is required to move on uneven surfaces. Structures, dynamics, and important features of commonly used suspensions are explained.

An omnidirectional robot with four mecanum wheels

Author  Nexus Automation Limited

Video ID : 327

This video shows a holonomic omnidirectional mobile robot with four mecanum wheels. The mecanum wheel is similar to the Swedish wheel. The rollers of the mecanum wheel have an axis of rotation at 45° to the axis of the wheel hub rotation. The design problem of omnidirectional robots becomes easier because the rotating axes of all wheel hubs can be placed in parallel.

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.

Adaptive synergies for a humanoid robot hand

Author  Centro di Ricerca Enrico Piaggio

Video ID : 658

We present the first implementation of the UNIPI-hand, a highly integrated prototype of an anthropomorphic hand that conciliates the idea of adaptive synergies with a human-form factor. The video validates the hand's versatility by showing grasp and manipulation actions on a variety of objects.

Chapter 63 — Medical Robotics and Computer-Integrated Surgery

Russell H. Taylor, Arianna Menciassi, Gabor Fichtinger, Paolo Fiorini and Paolo Dario

The growth of medical robotics since the mid- 1980s has been striking. From a few initial efforts in stereotactic brain surgery, orthopaedics, endoscopic surgery, microsurgery, and other areas, the field has expanded to include commercially marketed, clinically deployed systems, and a robust and exponentially expanding research community. This chapter will discuss some major themes and illustrate them with examples from current and past research. Further reading providing a more comprehensive review of this rapidly expanding field is suggested in Sect. 63.4.

Medical robotsmay be classified in many ways: by manipulator design (e.g., kinematics, actuation); by level of autonomy (e.g., preprogrammed versus teleoperation versus constrained cooperative control), by targeted anatomy or technique (e.g., cardiac, intravascular, percutaneous, laparoscopic, microsurgical); or intended operating environment (e.g., in-scanner, conventional operating room). In this chapter, we have chosen to focus on the role of medical robots within the context of larger computer-integrated systems including presurgical planning, intraoperative execution, and postoperative assessment and follow-up.

First, we introduce basic concepts of computerintegrated surgery, discuss critical factors affecting the eventual deployment and acceptance of medical robots, and introduce the basic system paradigms of surgical computer-assisted planning, execution, monitoring, and assessment (surgical CAD/CAM) and surgical assistance. In subsequent sections, we provide an overview of the technology ofmedical robot systems and discuss examples of our basic system paradigms, with brief additional discussion topics of remote telesurgery and robotic surgical simulators. We conclude with some thoughts on future research directions and provide suggested further reading.

Snake robot for surgery in tight spaces

Author  Vanderbilt University - Prof. Nabil Simaan

Video ID : 830

This video shows rotation about the backbone of a snake robot in order to achieve suturing in tight spaces. The work on actuation compensation for continuum robots was done by Nabil Simaan and Kai Xu. The movie shows how the robot behaves with and without actuation compensation.

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.

Qualification testing of a tracked vehicle in the NIST Disaster City

Author  SuperDroid Robots, Inc

Video ID : 189

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) developed a standard test field for evaluation of all-terrain mobile robots, called Disaster City in Texas, U.S.A. The field includes steps, stairs, steep slopes, and random step fields (unfixed wooden blocks), which simulates a disaster environment. This video-clip shows an evaluation test of the tracked vehicle, called LT-F, produced by SuperDroidRobots in 2011 in the Disaster City. All tests had to be performed remotely by the vehicle for 10 successful iterations each to qualify.

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.

An autonomous cucumber harvester

Author  Elder J. van Henten, Jochen Hemming, Bart A.J. van Tuijl, J.G. Kornet, Jan Meuleman, Jan Bontsema, Erik A. van Os

Video ID : 308

The video demonstrates an autonomous cucumber harvester developed at Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands. The machine consists of a mobile platform which runs on rails, which are commonly used in greenhouses in The Netherlands for the purpose of internal transport, but they are also used as a hot- water heating system for the greenhouse. Harvesting requires functional steps such as the detection and localization of the fruit and assessment of its ripeness. In the case of the cucumber harvester, the different reflection properties in the near infrared spectrum are exploited to detect green cucumbers in the green environment. Whether the cucumber was ready for harvest was identified based on an estimation of its weight. Since cucumbers consist 95% of water, the weight estimation was achieved by estimating the volume of each fruit. Stereo-vision principles were then used to locate the fruits to be harvested in the 3-D environment. For that purpose, the camera was shifted 50 mm on a linear slide and two images of the same scene were taken and processed. A Mitsubishi RV-E2 manipulator was used to steer the gripper-cutter mechanism to the fruit and transport the harvested fruit back to a storage crate. Collision-free motion planning based on the A* algorithm was used to steer the manipulator during the harvesting operation. The cutter consisted of a parallel gripper that grabbed the peduncle of the fruit, i.e., the stem segment that connects the fruit to the main stem of the plant. Then the action of a suction cup immobilized the fruit in the gripper. A special thermal cutting device was used to separate the fruit from the plant. The high temperature of the cutting device also prevented the potential transport of viruses from one plant to the other during the harvesting process. For each successful cucumber harvested, this machine needed 65.2 s on average. The average success rate was 74.4%. It was found to be a great advantage that the system was able to perform several harvest attempts on a single cucumber from different harvest positions of the robot. This improved the success rate considerably. Since not all attempts were successful, a cycle time of 124 s per harvested cucumber was measured under practical circumstances.

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.

HD footage of 1950s atomic power plants - Nuclear reactors

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 586

Robot manipulators, mainly remotely controlled and operated by people, have been widely used in the nuclear industry since the 1950s. This video contains archival film footage showing operations using remote manipulators.

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.

Task-consistent, obstacle avoidance for mobile manipulation

Author  Oliver Brock, Oussama Khatib, Sriram Viji

Video ID : 784

This robot can avoid moving obstacles with real-time path modification by using an elastic-strip framework. However, the real-time path modification can interfere with task execution. The proposed task-consistent, elastic planning method can ensure the task execution while achieving obstacle avoidance.

Chapter 59 — Robotics in Mining

Joshua A. Marshall, Adrian Bonchis, Eduardo Nebot and Steven Scheding

This chapter presents an overview of the state of the art in mining robotics, from surface to underground applications, and beyond. Mining is the practice of extracting resources for utilitarian purposes. Today, the international business of mining is a heavily mechanized industry that exploits the use of large diesel and electric equipment. These machines must operate in harsh, dynamic, and uncertain environments such as, for example, in the high arctic, in extreme desert climates, and in deep underground tunnel networks where it can be very hot and humid. Applications of robotics in mining are broad and include robotic dozing, excavation, and haulage, robotic mapping and surveying, as well as robotic drilling and explosives handling. This chapter describes how many of these applications involve unique technical challenges for field roboticists. However, there are compelling reasons to advance the discipline of mining robotics, which include not only a desire on the part of miners to improve productivity, safety, and lower costs, but also out of a need to meet product demands by accessing orebodies situated in increasingly challenging conditions.

Autonomous tramming

Author  Oscar Lundhede

Video ID : 142

This video shows one example of the current state of the art in LHD automation for underground mining operations. The Atlas Copco Scooptram Automation system depicted in this video automatically hauls and dumps material from underground draw points.

Chapter 54 — Industrial Robotics

Martin Hägele, Klas Nilsson, J. Norberto Pires and Rainer Bischoff

Much of the technology that makes robots reliable, human friendly, and adaptable for numerous applications has emerged from manufacturers of industrial robots. With an estimated installation base in 2014 of about 1:5million units, some 171 000 new installations in that year and an annual turnover of the robotics industry estimated to be US$ 32 billion, industrial robots are by far the largest commercial application of robotics technology today.

The foundations for robot motion planning and control were initially developed with industrial applications in mind. These applications deserve special attention in order to understand the origin of robotics science and to appreciate the many unsolved problems that still prevent the wider use of robots in today’s agile manufacturing environments. In this chapter, we present a brief history and descriptions of typical industrial robotics applications and at the same time we address current critical state-of-the-art technological developments. We show how robots with differentmechanisms fit different applications and how applications are further enabled by latest technologies, often adopted from technological fields outside manufacturing automation.

We will first present a brief historical introduction to industrial robotics with a selection of contemporary application examples which at the same time refer to a critical key technology. Then, the basic principles that are used in industrial robotics and a review of programming methods will be presented. We will also introduce the topic of system integration particularly from a data integration point of view. The chapter will be closed with an outlook based on a presentation of some unsolved problems that currently inhibit wider use of industrial robots.

SMErobotics Demonstrator D2 Human-Robot cooperation in wooden house production

Author  Martin Haegele, Thilo Zimmermann, Björn Kahl

Video ID : 381

SMErobotics: Europe's leading robot manufacturers and research institutes have teamed up with the European Robotics Initiative for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs in Manufacturing - to make the vision of cognitive robotics a reality in a key segment of EU manufacturing. Funded by the European Union 7th Framework Programme under GA number 287787. Project runtime: 01.01.2012 - 30.06.2016 For a general introduction, please also watch the general SMErobotics project video (ID 260). About this video: Chapter 1: Introduction (0:00); Chapter 2: Use of CAD data (00:32); Chapter 3: Object recognition and human interaction (00:47); Chapter 4: Program planning (01:15); Chapter 5: Program execution (01:53); Chapter 6: Automatic Tool Change (02:44); Chapter 7: Error handling (03:13); Chapter 8: Statement (03:58) Chapter 9: Outro (04:18); Chapter 10: The Consortium (04:56). For details, please visit: http://www.smerobotics.org/project/video-of-demonstrator-d2.html

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.

Whegs II: A mobile robot using abstracted biological principles

Author  Roger D. Quinn

Video ID : 537

A leg-wheel robot developed by researchers at Case Western Reserve University.