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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 In outdoor environments, the flat-surface assumption underling many mapping techniques for indoor environments is no longer valid.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.

Learning navigation cost grids

Author  John Rebula

Video ID : 271

The video shows how the LittleDog robot of IHMC learns a terrain cost map based on several surface parameters. The map is then used for determining foot placements for the robot to enable it to traverse rough terrain.

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.

A robot for harvesting sweet peppers in greenhouses

Author  Jochen Hemming, Wouter Bac, Bart van Tuijl, Ruud Barth, Eldert van Henten, Jan Bontsema, Erik Pekkeriet

Video ID : 304

This video shows robotic harvesting of sweet-pepper fruits in a commercial Dutch greenhouse in June 2014. The base of the robot consists of two carrier modules. On the first are located the manipulator (nine degrees-of-freedom), specifically developed for this project, the control electronics and the computers. On the sensor carrier module, two 5 megapixel color cameras (comprising a small baseline stereo setup) and a time-of-flight (TOF) camera are installed. Around the sensors, a light grid is placed to illuminate the scene. The sensor system is mounted on a linear motorized slide and can be horizontally moved in and out of the workspace of the manipulator. Machine-vision software localizes ripe fruits and obstacles in 3D. Two different types of end-effectors were designed and tested. The fin-ray gripper features a combined grip and cut mechanism. This end-effector first grips the fruit and after that the peduncle of the fruit is cut. The lip-type end-effector first stabilizes the fruit using a suction cup after which two rings enclose the fruit and cut the peduncle of the fruit. Both end-effectors have a miniature RGB and a TOF camera for refining the fruit position and to determine the fruit pose. This robot demonstrator is one of the results of the EU project CROPS, Clever Robots for Crops (

Chapter 65 — Domestic Robotics

Erwin Prassler, Mario E. Munich, Paolo Pirjanian and Kazuhiro Kosuge

When the first edition of this book was published domestic robots were spoken of as a dream that was slowly becoming reality. At that time, in 2008, we looked back on more than twenty years of research and development in domestic robotics, especially in cleaning robotics. Although everybody expected cleaning to be the killer app for domestic robotics in the first half of these twenty years nothing big really happened. About ten years before the first edition of this book appeared, all of a sudden things started moving. Several small, but also some larger enterprises announced that they would soon launch domestic cleaning robots. The robotics community was anxiously awaiting these first cleaning robots and so were consumers. The big burst, however, was yet to come. The price tag of those cleaning robots was far beyond what people were willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner. It took another four years until, in 2002, a small and inexpensive device, which was not even called a cleaning robot, brought the first breakthrough: Roomba. Sales of the Roomba quickly passed the first million robots and increased rapidly. While for the first years after Roomba’s release, the big players remained on the sidelines, possibly to revise their own designs and, in particular their business models and price tags, some other small players followed quickly and came out with their own products. We reported about theses devices and their creators in the first edition. Since then the momentum in the field of domestics robotics has steadily increased. Nowadays most big appliance manufacturers have domestic cleaning robots in their portfolio. We are not only seeing more and more domestic cleaning robots and lawn mowers on the market, but we are also seeing new types of domestic robots, window cleaners, plant watering robots, tele-presence robots, domestic surveillance robots, and robotic sports devices. Some of these new types of domestic robots are still prototypes or concept studies. Others have already crossed the threshold to becoming commercial products.

For the second edition of this chapter, we have decided to not only enumerate the devices that have emerged and survived in the past five years, but also to take a look back at how it all began, contrasting this retrospection with the burst of progress in the past five years in domestic cleaning robotics. We will not describe and discuss in detail every single cleaning robot that has seen the light of the day, but select those that are representative for the evolution of the technology as well as the market. We will also reserve some space for new types of mobile domestic robots, which will be the success stories or failures for the next edition of this chapter. Further we will look into nonmobile domestic robots, also called smart appliances, and examine their fate. Last but not least, we will look at the recent developments in the area of intelligent homes that surround and, at times, also control the mobile domestic robots and smart appliances described in the preceding sections.

Husqvarna Automower vs competitors

Author  Erwin Prassler

Video ID : 731

Video shows a comparison of the Automower of Husquarna with the products of competitors such as Friendly Machines, John Deer, and Honda.

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 D2 Human-Robot cooperation in wooden house production

Author  Martin Haegele, Thilo Zimmermann, Björn Kahl

Video ID : 381

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: Use of CAD data (00:32); Chapter 3: Object recognition and human interaction (00:47); Chapter 4: Program planning (01:15); Chapter 5: Program execution (01:53); Chapter 6: Automatic Tool Change (02:44); Chapter 7: Error handling (03:13); Chapter 8: Statement (03:58) Chapter 9: Outro (04:18); Chapter 10: The Consortium (04:56). For details, please visit:

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.

Reach and grasp by people with tetraplegia using a neurally-controlled robotic arm

Author  Leigh R. Hochberg, Daniel Bacher, Beata Jarosiewicz, Nicolas Y. Masse, John D. Simeral, Jörn Vogel, Sami Haddadin, Jie Liu, Sydney S. Cash, Patrick van der Smagt, John P. Donoghue

Video ID : 618

The authors have shown that people with long-standing tetraplegia can use a neural interface system to move and click a computer cursor and to control physical devices. One of the study participants, implanted with the sensor five years earlier, also used a robotic arm to drink coffee from a bottle. Although robotic reach and grasp actions were not as fast or accurate as those of an able-bodied person, the results demonstrate the feasibility for people with tetraplegia, years after injury to the central nervous system, to recreate useful multidimensional control of complex devices directly from a small sample of neural signals.

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.

A method for transporting a team of miniature robots

Author  Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos

Video ID : 205

A scout robot is a small robot with a limited battery supply that is used mainly for reconnaissance. This research uses a larger robot to transport the scouts to an area of interest. The scouts can then jump into and out of a platform on the larger robot, thus increasing the distance the scouts can search.

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.

Handle localization and grasping

Author  Robert Platt

Video ID : 652

The robot localizes and grasps appropriate handles on novel objects in real time.

Chapter 41 — Active Manipulation for Perception

Anna Petrovskaya and Kaijen Hsiao

This chapter covers perceptual methods in which manipulation is an integral part of perception. These methods face special challenges due to data sparsity and high costs of sensing actions. However, they can also succeed where other perceptual methods fail, for example, in poor-visibility conditions or for learning the physical properties of a scene.

The chapter focuses on specialized methods that have been developed for object localization, inference, planning, recognition, and modeling in activemanipulation approaches.We concludewith a discussion of real-life applications and directions for future research.

Modeling articulated objects using active manipulation

Author  Juergen Strum

Video ID : 78

The video illustrates a mobile, manipulation robot that interacts with various articulated objects, such as a fridge and a dishwasher, in a kitchen environment. During interaction, the robot learns their kinematic properties such as the rotation axis and the configuration space. Knowing the kinematic model of these objects improves the performance of the robot and enables motion planning. Service robots operating in domestic environments are typically faced with a variety of objects they have to deal with to fulfill their tasks. Some of these objects are articulated such as cabinet doors and drawers, or room and garage doors. The ability to deal with such articulated objects is relevant for service robots, as, for example, they need to open doors when navigating between rooms and to open cabinets to pick up objects in fetch-and-carry applications. We developed a complete probabilistic framework that enables robots to learn the kinematic models of articulated objects from observations of their motion. We combine parametric and nonparametric models consistently and utilize the advantages of both methods. As a result of our approach, a robot can robustly operate articulated objects in unstructured environments. All software is available open-source (including documentation and tutorials) on