View Chapter

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.

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.

A square peg-in-hole demonstration using manipulation skills

Author  Unknown

Video ID : 362

This video shows a square peg-in-hole demonstration using manipulation skills which refer to a set of motion primitives derived from the analysis of assembly tasks. This video demonstrated three manipulation skills: move-to-touch skill, rotate-to-level skill, and rotate-to-insert skill, which are executed to insert a square peg into a hole.

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.

Ladybird: An intelligent farm robot for the vegetable industry

Author  James Underwood, Calvin Hung, Suchet Bargoti, Mark Calleija, Robert Fitch, Juan Nieto, Salah Sukkarieh

Video ID : 305

This video showcases the Ladybird, an intelligent robot for the vegetable industry. Ladybird provides a flexible platform for sensing and automating commercial vegetable farms. The solar-electric powered vehicle has a flexible drive system that allows precise motion in potentially tight environments, and the platform geometry can be configured to suit different crop configurations. The vehicle autonomously traverses the farm, gathering data from a variety of sensors, including stereo vision, hyperspectral, thermal, and LIDAR. The data is processed to provide useful information for the management and optimization of the crop, including yield mapping, phenotyping, and disease and stress detection. Ladybird is equipped with a manipulator arm for a variety of mechanical tasks, including thinning, weeding (especially of herbicide-resistant weeds), spot spraying, foreign body removal and to support research towards automated harvesting.

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.

Field experiments with the OctArm continuum manipulator

Author  Ian Walker

Video ID : 157

Video overview of the OctArm continuum manipulator's applications and features.

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 Swedish wheels

Author  Nexus Automation Limited

Video ID : 328

This video shows a holonomic omnidirectional mobile robot with four Swedish wheels. The wheel enables lateral motion by the use of rotating rollers. Although the structure of each wheel becomes complicated, the driving mechanisms of the wheels become simpler. Another advantage is that the footprint locations remain unchanged during omnidirectional movements.

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.

PT-400 D:Mine

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 576

This video shows another remotely operated demining machine similar in principle to the BOZENA model (Video 574). The video shows the machine operating only on flat terrain.

Chapter 21 — Actuators for Soft Robotics

Alin Albu-Schäffer and Antonio Bicchi

Although we do not know as yet how robots of the future will look like exactly, most of us are sure that they will not resemble the heavy, bulky, rigid machines dangerously moving around in old fashioned industrial automation. There is a growing consensus, in the research community as well as in expectations from the public, that robots of the next generation will be physically compliant and adaptable machines, closely interacting with humans and moving safely, smoothly and efficiently - in other terms, robots will be soft.

This chapter discusses the design, modeling and control of actuators for the new generation of soft robots, which can replace conventional actuators in applications where rigidity is not the first and foremost concern in performance. The chapter focuses on the technology, modeling, and control of lumped parameters of soft robotics, that is, systems of discrete, interconnected, and compliant elements. Distributed parameters, snakelike and continuum soft robotics, are presented in Chap. 20, while Chap. 23 discusses in detail the biomimetic motivations that are often behind soft robotics.

VSA-Cube: Arm with high and low stiffness preset

Author  Centro di Ricerca "E. Piaggio"

Video ID : 470

A modular 2-DOF arm, built with VSA-cube actuation units, performing high- and low-stiffness behaviors.

Chapter 8 — Motion Control

Wan Kyun Chung, Li-Chen Fu and Torsten Kröger

This chapter will focus on the motion control of robotic rigid manipulators. In other words, this chapter does not treat themotion control ofmobile robots, flexible manipulators, and manipulators with elastic joints. The main challenge in the motion control problem of rigid manipulators is the complexity of their dynamics and uncertainties. The former results from nonlinearity and coupling in the robot manipulators. The latter is twofold: structured and unstructured. Structured uncertainty means imprecise knowledge of the dynamic parameters and will be touched upon in this chapter, whereas unstructured uncertainty results from joint and link flexibility, actuator dynamics, friction, sensor noise, and unknown environment dynamics, and will be treated in other chapters. In this chapter, we begin with an introduction to motion control of robot manipulators from a fundamental viewpoint, followed by a survey and brief review of the relevant advanced materials. Specifically, the dynamic model and useful properties of robot manipulators are recalled in Sect. 8.1. The joint and operational space control approaches, two different viewpoints on control of robot manipulators, are compared in Sect. 8.2. Independent joint control and proportional– integral–derivative (PID) control, widely adopted in the field of industrial robots, are presented in Sects. 8.3 and 8.4, respectively. Tracking control, based on feedback linearization, is introduced in Sect. 8.5. The computed-torque control and its variants are described in Sect. 8.6. Adaptive control is introduced in Sect. 8.7 to solve the problem of structural uncertainty, whereas the optimality and robustness issues are covered in Sect. 8.8. To compute suitable set point signals as input values for these motion controllers, Sect. 8.9 introduces reference trajectory planning concepts. Since most controllers of robotmanipulators are implemented by using microprocessors, the issues of digital implementation are discussed in Sect. 8.10. Finally, learning control, one popular approach to intelligent control, is illustrated in Sect. 8.11.

Different jerk limits of robot-arm trajectories

Author  Torsten Kröger

Video ID : 760

This video displays the motions of a 6-DOF industrial- robot arm controlled in joint space. The first reference trajectory is not jerk-limited. The second trajectory features a joint jerk limit of 400 deg/s^3 for all six joints, and the third trajectory has a jerk limit of 20 deg/s^3 for all robot joints.

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.

Landing and perching UAV

Author  Alexis L. Desbiens, Alan T. Asbeck , Mark R. Cutkosky

Video ID : 412

This UAV uses microspines to engage with asperities on the surface and has a tuned suspension to absorb impact forces.

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.