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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.

Swarm robot system

Author  James McLurkin

Video ID : 215

This video captures the interactions in a robot system developed at MIT, illustrating several swarm behaviors. These behaviors include dispersing, clumping, and following-the-leader.

Chapter 6 — Model Identification

John Hollerbach, Wisama Khalil and Maxime Gautier

This chapter discusses how to determine the kinematic parameters and the inertial parameters of robot manipulators. Both instances of model identification are cast into a common framework of least-squares parameter estimation, and are shown to have common numerical issues relating to the identifiability of parameters, adequacy of the measurement sets, and numerical robustness. These discussions are generic to any parameter estimation problem, and can be applied in other contexts.

For kinematic calibration, the main aim is to identify the geometric Denavit–Hartenberg (DH) parameters, although joint-based parameters relating to the sensing and transmission elements can also be identified. Endpoint sensing or endpoint constraints can provide equivalent calibration equations. By casting all calibration methods as closed-loop calibration, the calibration index categorizes methods in terms of how many equations per pose are generated.

Inertial parameters may be estimated through the execution of a trajectory while sensing one or more components of force/torque at a joint. Load estimation of a handheld object is simplest because of full mobility and full wrist force-torque sensing. For link inertial parameter estimation, restricted mobility of links nearer the base as well as sensing only the joint torque means that not all inertial parameters can be identified. Those that can be identified are those that affect joint torque, although they may appear in complicated linear combinations.

Calibration and accuracy validation of a FANUC LR Mate 200iC industrial robot

Author  Ilian Bonev

Video ID : 430

This video shows excerpts from the process of calibrating a FANUC LR Mate 200iC industrial robot using two different methods. In the first method, the position of one of three points on the robot end-effector is measured using a FARO laser tracker in 50 specially selected robot configurations (not shown in the video). Then, the robot parameters are identified. Next, the position of one of the three points on the robot's end-effector is measured using the laser tracker in 10,000 completely arbitrary robot configurations. The mean positioning error after calibration was found to be 0.156 mm, the standard deviation (std) 0.067 mm, the mean+3*std 0.356 mm, and the maximum 0.490 mm. In the second method, the complete pose (position and orientation) of the robot end-effector is measured in about 60 robot configurations using an innovative method based on Renishaw's telescoping ballbar. Then, the robot parameters are identified. Next, the position of one of the three points on the robot's end-effector is measured using the laser tracker in 10,000 completely arbitrary robot configurations. The mean position error after calibration was found to be 0.479 mm, the standard deviation (std) 0.214 mm, and the maximum 1.039 mm. However, if we limit the zone for validations, the accuracy of the robot is much better. The second calibration method is less efficient but relies on a piece of equipment that costs only $12,000 (only one tenth the cost of a laser tracker).

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.

Cockroach-like hexapod

Author  Roger D. Quinn

Video ID : 521

A biologically inspired insect-like hexapod developed by Dr. Nelson, Dr. Bachmann, Dr. Quinn, Dr. Watson and Dr. Ritzmann.

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.

Bozena 5 remotely-operated robot vehicle

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 574

This is an example of several videos available on YouTube showing this Slovak-designed and -constructed machine. It shows the vehicle being used in different test areas with brief glimpses of other mine-resistant vehicles. BOZENA 5 was designed to support mine-clearance teams operating in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina, removing mines left over from the civil war in the 1990s. In the areas affected by mines, one of the biggest challenges is the rapid growth of vegetation during the summer months. Bare ground can be submerged in vegetation over 1 m high after just two or three weeks. Military defensive positions were often set up on uneven ground with steep slopes which were then mined to deter attacks from other parties in the conflict. Mines were also removed from these defensive minefields and re-laid along routes used for smuggling goods and people. The smugglers would be able to charge higher prices because only they knew how to safely move along the routes. The smuggling routes (and their parent organizations) persisted long after the end of the formal conflict, complicating mine-clearance operations. That is why small, remote control vehicles like this proved to be so effective. They were highly manoeuvrable, easily transported, adaptable with different tools and equipment, and could be safely operated. The machine comes with an armored operator cabin and the whole system can be packed and deployed from a 40-foot shipping container weighing 16 tons. The greatest threat to the de-miners was from bounding fragmentation mines which typically had a lethal radius of several hundred meters. These vehicles provided a means to operate safely in areas affected by these mines. One of the major disadvantages of these machines is the destruction of surface vegetation that can lead to rapid erosion, if there is heavy rain in the weeks following mine clearance operations. Sudden heavy downpours are common in summer months. Therefore, they had to be used with considerable discretion and local knowledge.

Chapter 26 — Flying Robots

Stefan Leutenegger, Christoph Hürzeler, Amanda K. Stowers, Kostas Alexis, Markus W. Achtelik, David Lentink, Paul Y. Oh and Roland Siegwart

Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) have drawn increasing attention recently, owing to advancements in related research, technology, and applications. While having been deployed successfully in military scenarios for decades, civil use cases have lately been tackled by the robotics research community.

This chapter overviews the core elements of this highly interdisciplinary field; the reader is guided through the design process of aerial robots for various applications starting with a qualitative characterization of different types of UAS. Design and modeling are closely related, forming a typically iterative process of drafting and analyzing the related properties. Therefore, we overview aerodynamics and dynamics, as well as their application to fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and flapping-wing UAS, including related analytical tools and practical guidelines. Respecting use-case-specific requirements and core autonomous robot demands, we finally provide guidelines to related system integration challenges.

Structural, inspection-path planning via iterative, viewpoint resampling with application to aerial robotics

Author  Kostas Alexis

Video ID : 604

This video presents experimental results relevant for the ICRA 2015 paper: A. Bircher, K. Alexis, M. Burri, P. Oettershagen, S. Omari, T. Mantel, R. Siegwart: Structural inspection path planning via iterative viewpoint resampling with application to aerial robotics, IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom. (ICRA), Seattle (2015), pp. 6423 - 6430; doi: 10.1109/ICRA.2015.7140101

Chapter 60 — Disaster Robotics

Robin R. Murphy, Satoshi Tadokoro and Alexander Kleiner

Rescue robots have been used in at least 28 disasters in six countries since the first deployment to the 9/11 World Trade Center collapse. All types of robots have been used (land, sea, and aerial) and for all phases of a disaster (prevention, response, and recovery). This chapter will cover the basic characteristics of disasters and their impact on robotic design, and describe the robots actually used in disasters to date, with a special focus on Fukushima Daiichi, which is providing a rich proving ground for robotics. The chapter covers promising robot designs (e.g., snakes, legged locomotion) and concepts (e.g., robot teams or swarms, sensor networks), as well as progress and open issues in autonomy. The methods of evaluation in benchmarks for rescue robotics are discussed and the chapter concludes with a discussion of the fundamental problems and open issues facing rescue robotics, and their evolution from an interesting idea to widespread adoption.

Assistive mapping during teleoperation

Author  Alexander Kleiner, Christian Dornhege, Andreas Ciossek

Video ID : 140

This video shows a commercial mapping system that has been developed by the University of Freiburg (A. Kleiner and C. Dornhege) and the telerob GmbH (A. Ciossek) in Germany. The video first shows the physical integration of the mapping system on the telemax bomb-disposal robot. Then, the real-time output of the mapping system superimposed on the video output of the robot's camera is shown.

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.

Coevolved predator and prey robots

Author  Dario Floreano

Video ID : 38

Coevolved predator and prey robots engaged in a tournament. The predator and prey robot (from left to right) are placed in an arena surrounded by walls and are allowed to interact for several trials starting at different, randomly-generated orientations. Predators are selected on the basis of the percentage of trials in which they are able to catch (i.e., to touch) the prey, and prey on the basis of the percentage of trials in which they were able to escape (i.e., to not be touched by) predators. Predators have a vision system, whereas the prey have only short-range distance sensors, but can go twice as fast as the predator. Collision between robots is detected by a conductive belt at the base of the robots.

Chapter 70 — Human-Robot Augmentation

Massimo Bergamasco and Hugh Herr

The development of robotic systems capable of sharing with humans the load of heavy tasks has been one of the primary objectives in robotics research. At present, in order to fulfil such an objective, a strong interest in the robotics community is collected by the so-called wearable robots, a class of robotics systems that are worn and directly controlled by the human operator. Wearable robots, together with powered orthoses that exploit robotic components and control strategies, can represent an immediate resource also for allowing humans to restore manipulation and/or walking functionalities.

The present chapter deals with wearable robotics systems capable of providing different levels of functional and/or operational augmentation to the human beings for specific functions or tasks. Prostheses, powered orthoses, and exoskeletons are described for upper limb, lower limb, and whole body structures. State-of-theart devices together with their functionalities and main components are presented for each class of wearable system. Critical design issues and open research aspects are reported.

Arm-Exos

Author  Massimo Bergamasco

Video ID : 148

The video details the Arm-Exos and, in particular, its capability for tracking the operator's motions and for rendering the contact forces in a simple, demonstrative, virtual environment.

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.

Roller-Walker: Leg-wheel hybrid vehicle

Author  Gen Endo

Video ID : 535

A leg-wheel hybrid vehicle developed by Dr. Endo.

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.

New Mexico Elementary Botball 2014 - Teagan's first-ever run.

Author  Jtlboys3

Video ID : 635

This video shows some elementary-school students running their line-following code (written in C) on a robot at the local Junior Botball Challenge event. Details from: https://www.juniorbotballchallenge.org .