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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 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.

DALMATINO

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 575

This is another smaller, remotely-operated, mine-clearance vehicle similar in principle to the BOZENA machine described in Video 574. This video clearly shows the vegetation removal capability of these machines.

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.

Evolved GasNet visualisation

Author  Phil Husbands

Video ID : 375

The video shows a successfully evolved GasNet controlling a simulated robot engaged in a visual-discrimination task under noisy lighting. The GasNet architecture and all node properties are evolved along with the visual sampling morphology (parts of the visual field used as inputs to the GasNet). A minimal simulation is used which allows transfer to the real robot (see Sussex gantry Video 371). A highly minimal controller and visual morphology have evolved. The system is highly robust, coping with very noisy conditions. As can be seen, the GasNet employs multiple oscillator subcircuits - partly to filter out noise. Work by Tom Smith and Phil Husbands.

Chapter 47 — Motion Planning and Obstacle Avoidance

Javier Minguez, Florant Lamiraux and Jean-Paul Laumond

This chapter describes motion planning and obstacle avoidance for mobile robots. We will see how the two areas do not share the same modeling background. From the very beginning of motion planning, research has been dominated by computer sciences. Researchers aim at devising well-grounded algorithms with well-understood completeness and exactness properties.

The challenge of this chapter is to present both nonholonomic motion planning (Sects. 47.1–47.6) and obstacle avoidance (Sects. 47.7–47.10) issues. Section 47.11 reviews recent successful approaches that tend to embrace the whole problemofmotion planning and motion control. These approaches benefit from both nonholonomic motion planning and obstacle avoidance methods.

Autonomous robotic smart-wheelchair navigation in an urban environment

Author  VADERlab

Video ID : 707

This video demonstrates the reliable navigation of a smart wheelchair system (SWS) in an urban environment. Urban environments present unique challenges for service robots. They require localization accuracy at the sidewalk level, but compromise estimated GPS positions through significant multipath effects. However, they are also rich in landmarks that can be leveraged by feature-based localization approaches. To this end, the SWS employed a map-based approach. A map of South Bethlehem was acquired using a server vehicle, synthesized a priori, and made accessible to the SWS client. The map embedded not only the locations of landmarks, but also semantic data delineating seven different landmark classes to facilitate robust data association. Landmark segmentation and tracking by the SWS was then accomplished using both 2-D and 3-D LIDAR systems. The resulting localization algorithm has demonstrated decimeter-level positioning accuracy in a global coordinate frame. The localization package was integrated into a ROS framework with a sample-based planner and control loop running at 5 Hz. For validation, the SWS repeatedly navigated autonomously between Lehigh University's Packard Laboratory and the University bookstore, a distance of approximately 1.0 km roundtrip.

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.

Body Extender transversal joint

Author  Massimo Bergamasco

Video ID : 149

The video shows a CAD 3-D animation of the patented actuation mechanism of the Body Extender transversal joint.

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.

DLR's Agile Justin plays catch with Rollin' Justin

Author  DLR

Video ID : 661

DLR has developed a new robot named Agile Justin that is capable of tossing a baseball. This seemed like a natural complement to Rollin' Justin's ability to catch a baseball, so they teamed them up for a friendly game of "catch."

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.

Teleoperated hmanoid robot - HRP

Author  O. Miki, T. Itoko, K. Sawada, T. Nishiyama, K. Hira, S. Nakayama, H. Inaba, M. Sudo, K. Tanie, K. Yokoi, S. Hira, H. Hirukawa, H. Inoue, S. Tachi

Video ID : 318

This video shows a tele-existence system to teleoperate a humanoid robot HRP using multimodal feedback and integrated whole-body perception and control. Presented at ICRA 2001.

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.

CHOMP trajectory optimization

Author   Nathan Ratliff, Matt Zucker, J. Andrew Bagnell, Siddhartha Srinivasa

Video ID : 665

Covariant functional gradient techniques for motion planning via optimization. Computer simulations and video demonstrations based on two experimental platforms: Barrett Technologies WAM arm and Boston Dynamics LittleDog.

Chapter 7 — Motion Planning

Lydia E. Kavraki and Steven M. LaValle

This chapter first provides a formulation of the geometric path planning problem in Sect. 7.2 and then introduces sampling-based planning in Sect. 7.3. Sampling-based planners are general techniques applicable to a wide set of problems and have been successful in dealing with hard planning instances. For specific, often simpler, planning instances, alternative approaches exist and are presented in Sect. 7.4. These approaches provide theoretical guarantees and for simple planning instances they outperform samplingbased planners. Section 7.5 considers problems that involve differential constraints, while Sect. 7.6 overviews several other extensions of the basic problem formulation and proposed solutions. Finally, Sect. 7.8 addresses some important andmore advanced topics related to motion planning.

Kinodynamic motion planning for a car-like robot

Author  Caleb Voss

Video ID : 24

In this video, the objective of the car is to reach a goal location by jumping over a ramp and pushing a block out of the way. This problem requires kinodynamic motion planning for a car-like robot using a physics simulator. This video was generated using the software tools OMPL, Blender, and MORSE.

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.