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Chapter 54 — Industrial Robotics

Martin Hägele, Klas Nilsson, J. Norberto Pires and Rainer Bischoff

Much of the technology that makes robots reliable, human friendly, and adaptable for numerous applications has emerged from manufacturers of industrial robots. With an estimated installation base in 2014 of about 1:5million units, some 171 000 new installations in that year and an annual turnover of the robotics industry estimated to be US$ 32 billion, industrial robots are by far the largest commercial application of robotics technology today.

The foundations for robot motion planning and control were initially developed with industrial applications in mind. These applications deserve special attention in order to understand the origin of robotics science and to appreciate the many unsolved problems that still prevent the wider use of robots in today’s agile manufacturing environments. In this chapter, we present a brief history and descriptions of typical industrial robotics applications and at the same time we address current critical state-of-the-art technological developments. We show how robots with differentmechanisms fit different applications and how applications are further enabled by latest technologies, often adopted from technological fields outside manufacturing automation.

We will first present a brief historical introduction to industrial robotics with a selection of contemporary application examples which at the same time refer to a critical key technology. Then, the basic principles that are used in industrial robotics and a review of programming methods will be presented. We will also introduce the topic of system integration particularly from a data integration point of view. The chapter will be closed with an outlook based on a presentation of some unsolved problems that currently inhibit wider use of industrial robots.

SMErobotics Demonstrator D3 assembly with sensitive compliant robot arms

Author  Martin Haegele, Thilo Zimmermann, Björn Kahl

Video ID : 382

SMErobotics: Europe's leading robot manufacturers and research institutes have teamed up with the European Robotics Initiative for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs in Manufacturing - to make the vision of cognitive robotics a reality in a key segment of EU manufacturing. Funded by the European Union 7th Framework Programme under GA number 287787. Project runtime: 01.01.2012 - 30.06.2016 For a general introduction, please also watch the general SMErobotics project video (ID 260). About this video: Chapter 1: Introduction (0:00); Chapter 2: Work cell description and configuration (00:29); Chapter 3: Selection of the job (00:50); Chapter 4: Preparation step (01:09); Chapter 5: Riveting (01:44); Chapter 6: Error handling with automatic solution (02:17); Chapter 7: Finalise workflow (02:34); Chapter 8: Statement (03:09); Chapter 9: Outro (03:40); Chapter 10: The Consortium (03:54). For details, please visit:

Chapter 74 — Learning from Humans

Aude G. Billard, Sylvain Calinon and Rüdiger Dillmann

This chapter surveys the main approaches developed to date to endow robots with the ability to learn from human guidance. The field is best known as robot programming by demonstration, robot learning from/by demonstration, apprenticeship learning and imitation learning. We start with a brief historical overview of the field. We then summarize the various approaches taken to solve four main questions: when, what, who and when to imitate. We emphasize the importance of choosing well the interface and the channels used to convey the demonstrations, with an eye on interfaces providing force control and force feedback. We then review algorithmic approaches to model skills individually and as a compound and algorithms that combine learning from human guidance with reinforcement learning. We close with a look on the use of language to guide teaching and a list of open issues.

Policy refinement after demonstration

Author  Sylvain Calinon, Petar Kormushev, Darwin Caldwell

Video ID : 105

Use of stochastic optimization in the policy-parameters space to refine a skill initially learned from demonstration. Reference: S. Calinon, P. Kormushev, D.G. Caldwell: Compliant skills acquisition and multi-optima policy search with EM-based reinforcement learning, Robot. Auton. Syst. 61(4), 369–379 (2013); URL:

Chapter 22 — Modular Robots

I-Ming Chen and Mark Yim

This chapter presents a discussion of modular robots from both an industrial and a research point of view. The chapter is divided into four sections, one focusing on existing reconfigurable modular manipulators typically in an industry setting (Sect. 22.2) and another focusing on self-reconfigurable modular robots typically in a research setting (Sect. 22.4). Both sections are sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion sections.

This chapter is focused on design issues. Rather than a survey of existing systems, it presents some of the existing systems in the context of a discussion of the issues and elements in industrial modular robotics and modular robotics research. The reader is encouraged to look at the references for further discussion on any of the presented topics.

ATRON robot showing robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences

Author  Ulrik Pagh Schultz

Video ID : 5

ATRON robot showing robust and reversible execution of self-reconfiguration sequences.

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 69 — Physical Human-Robot Interaction

Sami Haddadin and Elizabeth Croft

Over the last two decades, the foundations for physical human–robot interaction (pHRI) have evolved from successful developments in mechatronics, control, and planning, leading toward safer lightweight robot designs and interaction control schemes that advance beyond the current capacities of existing high-payload and highprecision position-controlled industrial robots. Based on their ability to sense physical interaction, render compliant behavior along the robot structure, plan motions that respect human preferences, and generate interaction plans for collaboration and coaction with humans, these novel robots have opened up novel and unforeseen application domains, and have advanced the field of human safety in robotics.

This chapter gives an overview on the state of the art in pHRI as of the date of publication. First, the advances in human safety are outlined, addressing topics in human injury analysis in robotics and safety standards for pHRI. Then, the foundations of human-friendly robot design, including the development of lightweight and intrinsically flexible force/torque-controlled machines together with the required perception abilities for interaction are introduced. Subsequently, motionplanning techniques for human environments, including the domains of biomechanically safe, risk-metric-based, human-aware planning are covered. Finally, the rather recent problem of interaction planning is summarized, including the issues of collaborative action planning, the definition of the interaction planning problem, and an introduction to robot reflexes and reactive control architecture for pHRI.

Admittance control of a human-centered 3-DOF robotic arm using dfferential elastic actuators

Author  Marc-Antoine Legault, Marc-Antoine Lavoie, Francois Cabana, Philippe Jacob-Goudreau, Dominic Létourneau, François Michaud

Video ID : 610

This video shows the functionalities of a three-serial-DOF robotic arm where each DOF is actuated with a patent-pending differential elastic actuator (DEA). A DEA uses differential coupling between a high-impedance mechanical speed source and a low-impedance mechanical spring. A passive torsion spring (thus the name elastic), with a known impedance characteristic corresponding to the spring stiffness, is used, with an electrical DC brushless motor. A non-turning sensor connected in series with the spring measures the torque output of the actuator. Reference: M.-A. Legault, M.-A. Lavoie, F. Cabana, P. Jacob-Goudreau, D. Létourneau, F. Michaud: Admittance control of a human centered 3-DOF robotic arm using differential elastic actuators , Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intel. Robot. Syst. (IROS), Nice (2008), pp. 4143–4144; doi: 10.1109/IROS.2008.4651039.

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.

PROUD2013 - Inside VisLab's driverless car

Author  Alberto Broggi

Video ID : 178

This video shows the internal and external view of what happened during the PROUD2013 driverlesscar test in downtown Parma, Italy, on July 12, 2013. It also displays the internal status of the vehicle plus some vehicle data (speed, steering angle, and some perception results like pedestrian detection, roundabout merging alert, freeway merging alert, traffic light sensing, etc.). More info available from

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.

1961 nuclear-reactor meltdown : The SL-1 accident - United States Army Documentary - WDTVLIVE42

Author  James P. Trevelyan

Video ID : 589

This archive film, though long, provides graphic details on a relatively modest nuclear accident illustrating the difficulties that still face researchers working to provide robotic solutions.

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.

Agents at play: Off-the-shelf software for practical multi-robot applications

Author  Enric Cervera, Jorge Sales, Leo Nomdedeu, Raul Marin, Veysel Gazi

Video ID : 192

This video focuses on how to use off-the-shelf components to design multirobot systems for real-world applications. The system makes use of Player and JADE as middleware, integrated using Java. The application that illustrates this system requires robots to visit destinations in an indoor environment, making use of market-based task allocation.