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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.

Distributed manipulation with mobile robots

Author  Bruce Donald, Jim Jennings, Daniela Rus

Video ID : 208

This video demonstrates cooperative robot pushing without explicit communication.

Chapter 46 — Simultaneous Localization and Mapping

Cyrill Stachniss, John J. Leonard and Sebastian Thrun

This chapter provides a comprehensive introduction in to the simultaneous localization and mapping problem, better known in its abbreviated form as SLAM. SLAM addresses the main perception problem of a robot navigating an unknown environment. While navigating the environment, the robot seeks to acquire a map thereof, and at the same time it wishes to localize itself using its map. The use of SLAM problems can be motivated in two different ways: one might be interested in detailed environment models, or one might seek to maintain an accurate sense of a mobile robot’s location. SLAM serves both of these purposes.

We review the three major paradigms from which many published methods for SLAM are derived: (1) the extended Kalman filter (EKF); (2) particle filtering; and (3) graph optimization. We also review recent work in three-dimensional (3-D) SLAM using visual and red green blue distance-sensors (RGB-D), and close with a discussion of open research problems in robotic mapping.

Pose graph compression for laser-based SLAM 2

Author  Cyrill Stachniss

Video ID : 450

This video illustrates pose graph compression, a technique for achieving long-term SLAM, as discussed in Chap. 46.5, Springer Handbook of Robotics, 2nd edn (2016). Reference: H. Kretzschmar, C. Stachniss: Information-theoretic compression of pose graphs for laser-based SLAM. Reference: Int. J. Robot. Res. 31(11), 1219-1230 (2012).

Chapter 19 — Robot Hands

Claudio Melchiorri and Makoto Kaneko

Multifingered robot hands have a potential capability for achieving dexterous manipulation of objects by using rolling and sliding motions. This chapter addresses design, actuation, sensing and control of multifingered robot hands. From the design viewpoint, they have a strong constraint in actuator implementation due to the space limitation in each joint. After briefly introducing the overview of anthropomorphic end-effector and its dexterity in Sect. 19.1, various approaches for actuation are provided with their advantages and disadvantages in Sect. 19.2. The key classification is (1) remote actuation or build-in actuation and (2) the relationship between the number of joints and the number of actuator. In Sect. 19.3, actuators and sensors used for multifingered hands are described. In Sect. 19.4, modeling and control are introduced by considering both dynamic effects and friction. Applications and trends are given in Sect. 19.5. Finally, this chapter is closed with conclusions and further reading.

The Shadow Hand

Author  Shadow Robot Company

Video ID : 753

The Shadow Hand is a popular and well-known commercial, anthropomorphic robot hand.

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.

Visual navigation with collision avoidance

Author  Dario Floreano

Video ID : 37

Evolved Khepera displaying vision-based collision avoidance. A network of spiking neurons is evolved to drive the vision-based robot in the arena. A llight below the rotating contacts enables continuous evolution, even overnight.

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.

StickybotIII climbing robot

Author  Mark R. Cutkosky

Video ID : 540

A walk climbing robot developed by Prof. Cutkosky and his colleagues.

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 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.

An autonomous cucumber harvester

Author  Elder J. van Henten, Jochen Hemming, Bart A.J. van Tuijl, J.G. Kornet, Jan Meuleman, Jan Bontsema, Erik A. van Os

Video ID : 308

The video demonstrates an autonomous cucumber harvester developed at Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands. The machine consists of a mobile platform which runs on rails, which are commonly used in greenhouses in The Netherlands for the purpose of internal transport, but they are also used as a hot- water heating system for the greenhouse. Harvesting requires functional steps such as the detection and localization of the fruit and assessment of its ripeness. In the case of the cucumber harvester, the different reflection properties in the near infrared spectrum are exploited to detect green cucumbers in the green environment. Whether the cucumber was ready for harvest was identified based on an estimation of its weight. Since cucumbers consist 95% of water, the weight estimation was achieved by estimating the volume of each fruit. Stereo-vision principles were then used to locate the fruits to be harvested in the 3-D environment. For that purpose, the camera was shifted 50 mm on a linear slide and two images of the same scene were taken and processed. A Mitsubishi RV-E2 manipulator was used to steer the gripper-cutter mechanism to the fruit and transport the harvested fruit back to a storage crate. Collision-free motion planning based on the A* algorithm was used to steer the manipulator during the harvesting operation. The cutter consisted of a parallel gripper that grabbed the peduncle of the fruit, i.e., the stem segment that connects the fruit to the main stem of the plant. Then the action of a suction cup immobilized the fruit in the gripper. A special thermal cutting device was used to separate the fruit from the plant. The high temperature of the cutting device also prevented the potential transport of viruses from one plant to the other during the harvesting process. For each successful cucumber harvested, this machine needed 65.2 s on average. The average success rate was 74.4%. It was found to be a great advantage that the system was able to perform several harvest attempts on a single cucumber from different harvest positions of the robot. This improved the success rate considerably. Since not all attempts were successful, a cycle time of 124 s per harvested cucumber was measured under practical circumstances.

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.

Metamorphic robotic system

Author  Amit Pamecha, Gregory Chirikjian

Video ID : 198

This video describes a metamorphic robotic system composed of many robotic modules, each of which has the ability to locomote over its neighbors. Mechanical coupling enables the robots to interact with each other.

Chapter 67 — Humanoids

Paul Fitzpatrick, Kensuke Harada, Charles C. Kemp, Yoshio Matsumoto, Kazuhito Yokoi and Eiichi Yoshida

Humanoid robots selectively immitate aspects of human form and behavior. Humanoids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from complete human-size legged robots to isolated robotic heads with human-like sensing and expression. This chapter highlights significant humanoid platforms and achievements, and discusses some of the underlying goals behind this area of robotics. Humanoids tend to require the integration ofmany of the methods covered in detail within other chapters of this handbook, so this chapter focuses on distinctive aspects of humanoid robotics with liberal cross-referencing.

This chapter examines what motivates researchers to pursue humanoid robotics, and provides a taste of the evolution of this field over time. It summarizes work on legged humanoid locomotion, whole-body activities, and approaches to human–robot communication. It concludes with a brief discussion of factors that may influence the future of humanoid robots.

Whole-body "pivoting" manipulation

Author  Eiichi Yoshida

Video ID : 595

The humanoid robot performs "pivoting" manipulation to carry a bulky object without lifting. A coarse path of the object towards its goal position is first planned to compute the trajectory of the hands which perform the manipulation. Then foot positions are determined along the object path, from which the COM trajectory is derived using the dynamic walking-pattern generator. Those tasks are provided to the inverse kinematics to generate the coordinated arm and leg motion for this complex manipulation. The second video shows the motion planning combining pivoting manipulation and free walking motion in a more complex environment.

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.

Stenting deployment system

Author  Nabil Simaan

Video ID : 248

A 3-DOF continuum robot for intraocular dexterity and stent placement. The video shows a stent being deployed in a choroallantoic chick membrane which represents the vasculature of the retina [1, 2]. Note that [1] reports an algorithm for assisted telemanipulation and force sensing at the tip of a guide wire using a rapid interpolation map by elliptic integrals. References: [1] W. Wei, N. Simaan: Modeling, force sensing, and control of flexible cannulas for microstent delivery, J. Dyn. Syst. Meas. Control 134(4), 041004 (2012); [2] W. Wei, C. Popplewell, H. Fine, S. Chang, N. Simaan: Enabling technology for micro-vascular stenting in ophthalmic surgery, ASME J. Med. Dev. 4(2), 014503-01 - 014503-06 (2010)