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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.

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 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.

VisualGPS – High accuracy localization for forestry machinery

Author  Juergen Rossmann, Michael Schluse, Arno Buecken, Christian Schlette, Markus Emde

Video ID : 96

Developments in space robotics continue to find their way into our everyday lives. These advances, for instance, include novel methods to increase localization accuracy in determining one's position in comparison to conventional GPS systems. The example here is the "VisualGPS" approach that helps to estimate the position of forestry machinery, such as harvesters in the woods, with high accuracy. For "VisualGPS", harvesters are equipped with laser scanners. The sensors scan the surrounding area to generate landmarks from the tree positions. The tree positions are combined into a local, single-tree map. By comparing the local, single-tree map with a map generated from aerial survey data, the current machine position can be calculated with an accuracy of 0.5 m.

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.

A robotic reconnaissance and surveillance team

Author  Paul Rybski, Saifallah Benjaafar, John R. Budenske, Mark Dvorak, Maria Gini, Dean F. Hougen, Donald G. Krantz, Perry Y. Li, Fred Malver, Brad Nelson, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, Sascha A. Stoeter, Richard Voyles, Kemel Berk Yesin

Video ID : 203

A two-tiered system for surveillance and exploration tasks is presented. The first tier is the scout (a small mobile sensor platform); the second tier consists of rangers (larger robots that transport and deploy scouts). Scouts send data (commonly video) to other robots via an RF data link.

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.

Reaching in clutter with whole-arm tactile sensing

Author  Advait Jain, Marc D. Killpack, Aaron Edsinger, Charles C. Kemp

Video ID : 674

In this video, our robot Cody attempts to reach to five different goal locations using four attempts (meaning four different base locations) for each goal. For each goal, we test our single-step, quasi-static, model-predictive controller against the performance of a baseline kinematic controller that has compliance at the joints.

Chapter 30 — Sonar Sensing

Lindsay Kleeman and Roman Kuc

Sonar or ultrasonic sensing uses the propagation of acoustic energy at higher frequencies than normal hearing to extract information from the environment. This chapter presents the fundamentals and physics of sonar sensing for object localization, landmark measurement and classification in robotics applications. The source of sonar artifacts is explained and how they can be dealt with. Different ultrasonic transducer technologies are outlined with their main characteristics highlighted.

Sonar systems are described that range in sophistication from low-cost threshold-based ranging modules to multitransducer multipulse configurations with associated signal processing requirements capable of accurate range and bearing measurement, interference rejection, motion compensation, and target classification. Continuous-transmission frequency-modulated (CTFM) systems are introduced and their ability to improve target sensitivity in the presence of noise is discussed. Various sonar ring designs that provide rapid surrounding environmental coverage are described in conjunction with mapping results. Finally the chapter ends with a discussion of biomimetic sonar, which draws inspiration from animals such as bats and dolphins.

Side-looking multipulse sonar moving down cinder-block hallway

Author  Roman Kuc

Video ID : 303

Rather than producing a single TOF reading per emission, the multipulse sonar produces multiple spikes by quickly resetting the sonar-detector integrator, thereby producing a spike density related to the echo amplitude. A side-looking sonar scans a cinder-block wall containing a door and window jambs. The resulting spikes have been processed to differentiate the first cinder-block wall, the cider-block surface and localize the window and door jambs. The red circles indicate the initial TOF values and illustrate the additional echo waveform data produced by the multipulse sonar. Reference: R. Kuc: Recognizing retro-reflectors with an obliquely-oriented multi-point sonar and acoustic flow, Int. J. Robot. Res. 22(2), 129-145, (2003); doi:10.1177/0278364903022002004.

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: Tumbling over an obstacle

Author  Antonio Franchi, Paolo Robuffo Giordano

Video ID : 72

This video shows the bilateral teleoperation of a group of four quadrotor 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 20 — Snake-Like and Continuum Robots

Ian D. Walker, Howie Choset and Gregory S. Chirikjian

This chapter provides an overview of the state of the art of snake-like (backbones comprised of many small links) and continuum (continuous backbone) robots. The history of each of these classes of robot is reviewed, focusing on key hardware developments. A review of the existing theory and algorithms for kinematics for both types of robot is presented, followed by a summary ofmodeling of locomotion for snake-like and continuum mechanisms.

OctArms I-V

Author  Ian Walker

Video ID : 158

Video showing five different iterations of the OctArm continuum manipulator.

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.

A path-following control scheme for a four-wheeled mobile robot

Author  Genya Ishigami, Keiji Nagatani, Kazuya Yoshida

Video ID : 188

This video shows a feedback control for planetary rovers. It calculates both steering and driving maneuvers that can compensate for wheel slips and also enable the rover to successfully traverse a sandy slope. The performance was confirmed in slope traversal experiments using a four-wheeled rover test bed. In this split video clip, no slip control is performed on the left, and slip-compensation-feedback control is conducted on the right. The rover's motion is detected by the visual odometry system using a telecentric camera.

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.

Husqvarna Automower vs competitors

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 731

Video shows a comparison of the Automower of Husquarna with the products of competitors such as Friendly Machines, John Deer, and Honda.

Chapter 0 — Preface

Bruno Siciliano, Oussama Khatib and Torsten Kröger

The preface of the Second Edition of the Springer Handbook of Robotics contains three videos about the creation of the book and using its multimedia app on mobile devices.

The handbook — A short story

Author  Oussama Khatib

Video ID : 844

With a bit of humor, this video illustrates how the first edition of the Springer Handbook of Robotics was created.