View Chapter

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 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 navigation of a mobile vehicle

Author  Visp team

Video ID : 713

This video shows the vision-based autonomous navigation of a Cycab mobile vehicle able to avoid obstacles detected by its laser range finder. The reference trajectory is provided as a sequence of previously-acquired key images. Obstacle avoidance is based on a predefined set of circular avoidance trajectories. The best trajectory is selected when an obstacle is detected by the laser scanner.

Sena wheelchair: Autonomous navigation at University of Malaga (2007)

Author  Jose Luis Blanco

Video ID : 708

This experiment demonstrates how a reactive navigation method successfully enables our robotic wheelchair SENA to navigate reliably in the entrance of our building at the University of Malaga (Spain). The robot navigates autonomously amidst dozens of students while avoiding collisions. The method is based on a space transformation, which simplifies finding collision-free movements in real-time despite the arbitrarily complex shape of the robot and its kinematic restrictions.

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.

Transport of a child by swarm-bots

Author  Ivan Aloisio, Michael Bonani, Francesco Mondada, Andre Guignard, Roderich Gross, Dario Floreano

Video ID : 212

This video shows a swarm of s-bot, miniature, mobile robots in swarm-bot formation pulling a child across the floor.

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 59 — Robotics in Mining

Joshua A. Marshall, Adrian Bonchis, Eduardo Nebot and Steven Scheding

This chapter presents an overview of the state of the art in mining robotics, from surface to underground applications, and beyond. Mining is the practice of extracting resources for utilitarian purposes. Today, the international business of mining is a heavily mechanized industry that exploits the use of large diesel and electric equipment. These machines must operate in harsh, dynamic, and uncertain environments such as, for example, in the high arctic, in extreme desert climates, and in deep underground tunnel networks where it can be very hot and humid. Applications of robotics in mining are broad and include robotic dozing, excavation, and haulage, robotic mapping and surveying, as well as robotic drilling and explosives handling. This chapter describes how many of these applications involve unique technical challenges for field roboticists. However, there are compelling reasons to advance the discipline of mining robotics, which include not only a desire on the part of miners to improve productivity, safety, and lower costs, but also out of a need to meet product demands by accessing orebodies situated in increasingly challenging conditions.

Autonomous tramming

Author  Oscar Lundhede

Video ID : 142

This video shows one example of the current state of the art in LHD automation for underground mining operations. The Atlas Copco Scooptram Automation system depicted in this video automatically hauls and dumps material from underground draw points.

Chapter 62 — Intelligent Vehicles

Alberto Broggi, Alex Zelinsky, Ümit Özgüner and Christian Laugier

This chapter describes the emerging robotics application field of intelligent vehicles – motor vehicles that have autonomous functions and capabilities. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 62.1 provides a motivation for why the development of intelligent vehicles is important, a brief history of the field, and the potential benefits of the technology. Section 62.2 describes the technologies that enable intelligent vehicles to sense vehicle, environment, and driver state, work with digital maps and satellite navigation, and communicate with intelligent transportation infrastructure. Section 62.3 describes the challenges and solutions associated with road scene understanding – a key capability for all intelligent vehicles. Section 62.4 describes advanced driver assistance systems, which use the robotics and sensing technologies described earlier to create new safety and convenience systems for motor vehicles, such as collision avoidance, lane keeping, and parking assistance. Section 62.5 describes driver monitoring technologies that are being developed to mitigate driver fatigue, inattention, and impairment. Section 62.6 describes fully autonomous intelligent vehicles systems that have been developed and deployed. The chapter is concluded in Sect. 62.7 with a discussion of future prospects, while Sect. 62.8 provides references to further reading and additional resources.

Inria/Ligier automated parallel-parking demo in an open parking area

Author  Christian Laugier, Igor Paromtchik

Video ID : 567

This video shows a pioneer demonstration of the concept of "autonomous parallel parking" on the early Inria/Ligier autonomous vehicle (1996). The approach does not require any prior model of the parking area. The car is controlled using information coming from inexpensive, on-board sensors, and motion control decisions (including parking maneuvers) are taken online according to the state of the sensed environment. Public demonstrations of the systems have been performed during several publicized and scientific events (including during three days at the IEEE/RSJ IROS 1997 Conference). More technical details can be found in [62.89].

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 mobile robot with active caster wheels

Author  Woojin Chung

Video ID : 325

This video shows a holonomic omnidirectional mobile robot with two active and two passive caster wheels. Each active caster is composed of two actuators. The first actuator drives a wheel; the second actuator steers the wheel orientation. Although the mechanical structure of the driving mechanisms becomes a little complicated, conventional tires can be used for omnidirectional motions. Since the robot is overactuated, four actuators should be carefully controlled.

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: Drawing on a wavy surface (high stiffness)

Author  Centro di Ricerca "E. Piaggio"

Video ID : 472

A 3-DOF arm, built with VSA-cube units, performing a circle on a wavy surface with preset uniformly high stiffness.

Chapter 45 — World Modeling

Wolfram Burgard, Martial Hebert and Maren Bennewitz

In this chapter we describe popular ways to represent the environment of a mobile robot. For indoor environments, which are often stored using two-dimensional representations, we discuss occupancy grids, line maps, topologicalmaps, and landmark-based representations. Each of these techniques has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whilst occupancy grid maps allow for quick access and can efficiently be updated, line maps are more compact. Also landmark-basedmaps can efficiently be updated and maintained, however, they do not readily support navigation tasks such as path planning like topological representations do.

Additionally, we discuss approaches suited for outdoor terrain modeling. In outdoor environments, the flat-surface assumption underling many mapping techniques for indoor environments is no longer valid. A very popular approach in this context are elevation and variants maps, which store the surface of the terrain over a regularly spaced grid. Alternatives to such maps are point clouds, meshes, or three-dimensional grids, which provide a greater flexibility but have higher storage demands.

Service-robot navigation in urban environments

Author  Christian Siagian

Video ID : 270

This video presents the navigation system of the Beobot service robot of the iLab, University of Southern California (USC). Beobot's task is to fulfill services in urban-like environments, especially those involving long-range travel. The robot uses a topological map for global localization based on acquired images.