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Chapter 66 — Robotics Competitions and Challenges

Daniele Nardi, Jonathan Roberts, Manuela Veloso and Luke Fletcher

This chapter explores the use of competitions to accelerate robotics research and promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. We argue that the field of robotics is particularly well suited to innovation through competitions. Two broad categories of robot competition are used to frame the discussion: human-inspired competitions and task-based challenges. Human-inspired robot competitions, of which the majority are sports contests, quickly move through platform development to focus on problemsolving and test through game play. Taskbased challenges attempt to attract participants by presenting a high aim for a robotic system. The contest can then be tuned, as required, to maintain motivation and ensure that the progress is made. Three case studies of robot competitions are presented, namely robot soccer, the UAV challenge, and the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) grand challenges. The case studies serve to explore from the point of view of organizers and participants, the benefits and limitations of competitions, and what makes a good robot competition.

This chapter ends with some concluding remarks on the natural convergence of humaninspired competitions and task-based challenges in the promotion of STEM education, research, and vocations.

Multirobot teamwork in the CMDragons RoboCup SSL team

Author  Manuela Veloso

Video ID : 387

In this video, we can see the coordination and passing strategy as an example of the play of the RoboCup small-size league (SSL), in this case, the CMDragons team from Veloso and her students, at Carnegie Mellon University. The RoboCup SSL has an overhead camera connected to an offboard computer which plans and commands the robots: The perception, planning, and actuation cycle is fully autonomous.

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.

3-D passive dynamic walking robot

Author  Steven Collins

Video ID : 532

A passive dynamic walking robot in 3-D developed by Dr.Collins.

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.

Free-floating autonomous underwater manipulation: Connector plug/unplug

Author  CIRS Universitat de Girona

Video ID : 789

Peg-in-hole demonstration performed autonomously with an underwater-vehicle manipulator system. The implementation is done through MoveIt!.

Chapter 22 — Modular Robots

I-Ming Chen and Mark Yim

This chapter presents a discussion of modular robots from both an industrial and a research point of view. The chapter is divided into four sections, one focusing on existing reconfigurable modular manipulators typically in an industry setting (Sect. 22.2) and another focusing on self-reconfigurable modular robots typically in a research setting (Sect. 22.4). Both sections are sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion sections.

This chapter is focused on design issues. Rather than a survey of existing systems, it presents some of the existing systems in the context of a discussion of the issues and elements in industrial modular robotics and modular robotics research. The reader is encouraged to look at the references for further discussion on any of the presented topics.

4x4ht4a

Author  Hod Lipson

Video ID : 2

Self-reconfiguring cubes that reproduce a chain of cubes. Reference: V. Zykov, E. Mytilinaios, B. Adams, H. LipsonRobotics: Self-reproducing machines, Nature 435, 163-164 (2005); doi:10.1038/435163a

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 36 — Motion for Manipulation Tasks

James Kuffner and Jing Xiao

This chapter serves as an introduction to Part D by giving an overview of motion generation and control strategies in the context of robotic manipulation tasks. Automatic control ranging from the abstract, high-level task specification down to fine-grained feedback at the task interface are considered. Some of the important issues include modeling of the interfaces between the robot and the environment at the different time scales of motion and incorporating sensing and feedback. Manipulation planning is introduced as an extension to the basic motion planning problem, which can be modeled as a hybrid system of continuous configuration spaces arising from the act of grasping and moving parts in the environment. The important example of assembly motion is discussed through the analysis of contact states and compliant motion control. Finally, methods aimed at integrating global planning with state feedback control are summarized.

Robust and fast manipulation of objects with multi-fingered hands

Author  Thomas Schlegl et al.

Video ID : 364

The video shows an example of fast manipulation of inserting a bulb into a socket. The bulb is grasped by a TIT-hand and screwed until contact between the bulb and the socket is established.

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 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.

Exploration and homing for battery recharge

Author  Dario Floreano

Video ID : 118

Evolved Khepera robot performing exploration and homing for battery recharge. The robot enters the recharging area approximately 2 s before full-battery discharge.

Evolved walking in octopod

Author  Phil Husbands

Video ID : 372

Evolved-walking behaviors on an octopod robot. Multiple gaits and obstacle avoidance can be observed. The behavior was evolved in a minimal simulation by Nick Jakobi at Sussex University and is successfully transferred to the real world as is evident from the video.

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.

Waalbot: Agile climbing with synthetic fibrillar dry adhesives

Author  Mike Murphy

Video ID : 541

A wall climbing robot developed by Dr. Murphy and Dr. Sitti.