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Mobile Robotics: 2. Robotics Fundamentals Dr. Brian Mac Namee (

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1 Mobile Robotics: 2. Robotics Fundamentals Dr. Brian Mac Namee (

2 2 of 25 2 of 26 Acknowledgments These notes are based (heavily) on those provided by the authors to accompany “Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots” by Roland Siegwart and Illah R. Nourbakhsh More information about the book is available at: The book can be bought at: The MIT Press and The MIT

3 3 of 25 3 of 26 Contents Today we’ll look in more detail at what we mean when we talk about robots –Definition –Taxonomy –Applications –Advantages & disadvantages –Components –Autonomous robot control

4 4 of 25 4 of 26 What Is A Robot? The term robot was first introduced by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek in his 1921 play Rossum’s Universal Robots (the word robota being the Czech word for worker) We will use the following definition: Karel Čapek was one of the most influential Czech writers of the 20 th century. At one time the Gestapo had ranked him as "public enemy number 2" in Czechoslovakia! “a robot is an artificial physical agent that performs tasks by manipulating the physical world”

5 5 of 25 5 of 26 Robot Taxonomy The Japanese Industrial Robot Association gives the following classification of robots: –Class 1: Manual Handling Device –Class 2: Fixed Sequence Robot –Class 3: Variable Sequence Robot –Class 4: Playback Robot –Class 5: Numerical Control Robot –Class 6: Intelligent Robot

6 6 of 25 6 of 26 Robot Taxonomy We are primarily interested in intelligent robots and can break these down simply as follows: –Manipulator robots –Mobile robots –Humanoid robots

7 7 of 25 7 of 26 Manipulator Robots Physically anchored to their workplace Manipulator motion usually involves an entire chain of controllable joints, enabling such robots to place their effectors in any position within the workplace Manipulators are by far the most common type of industrial robots - a 2 billion dollar industry!

8 8 of 25 8 of 26 Mobile Robots We can divide mobile robots into the following categories: –Wheeled robots –Legged robots –Aerial robots (UAVs) –Others

9 9 of 25 9 of 26 Wheeled Robots For more on the DARPA Grand Challenge go to:

10 10 of 25 10 of 26 Legged Robots For more on Boston Dynamics go to:

11 11 of 25 11 of 26 Aerial Robots More information on these projects can be found at:

12 12 of 25 12 of 26 Aerial Robots More information on these projects can be found at:

13 13 of 25 13 of 26 Other Mobile Robots A video of a slightly scary robotic amphibious snake

14 14 of 25 14 of 26 Humanoid Robots Hybrid robot: a mobile robot equipped with manipulators Hybrids can apply their effectors further a-field then anchored manipulators However, their task is made harder because they don’t have the rigidity that the anchor provides

15 15 of 25 15 of 26 ASIMO ASIMO slalom video available at: Loads of ASIMO videos are available from HONDA at:

16 16 of 25 16 of 26 Robot Applications Indoor Structured Environments –Transportation –Customer support in museums, shops, etc. –Cleaning large buildings –Building surveillance –Research –Entertainment

17 17 of 25 17 of 26 Robot Applications (cont…) Outdoor Unstructured Environments –Space –Mining –Sewage tubes –Forest –Agriculture –Construction –Fire fighting –Military –Underwater –Aerial

18 18 of 25 18 of 26 Advantages The major advantages of robots are: –Decreased labor costs –Increased precision and productivity –Increased flexibility compared with specialised machines –Robots can perform dull, repetitive jobs –Robots can operate in hazardous environments

19 19 of 25 19 of 26 Components The major components of a mobile robot are: –Power supply –Sensors –Control –Actuators ActuatorsPowerSensorsControl Environment

20 20 of 25 20 of 26 Components (cont…) Power Supply: the power plant and associated power transmission system, such as a battery with associated equipment, or a power supply unit which converts electricity from the mains to appropriate power requirements Sensors: Including lasers, cameras, sonar and microphones, sensors enable robots to collect information about their own state and the state of their environment

21 21 of 25 21 of 26 Components (cont…) Actuators: devices which transduce power into kinetic energy or movement Types of actuators include: –Electric motors –Pneumatic actuation (using compressed gas) –Hydraulic actuation (using pressurized fluids) –Robotic end effectors (e.g. grippers) Control Subsystem: responsible for evaluating the information collected and processed by sensors and for planning actions

22 22 of 25 22 of 26 Robot Control Mechanisms Robots may be controlled: –Directly by a human, such as remotely-controlled bomb-disposal robots, robotic arms, or shuttles –Autonomously according to their own decision making ability, provided by artificial intelligence Many robots fall in-between these extremes, being controlled by pre-programmed computers

23 23 of 25 23 of 26 Mobile Robot Control Tele-operated –Pioneer, robot that was designed to explore the Sarcophagus at Chernobyl

24 24 of 25 24 of 26 Mobile Robot Control (cont…) Autonoumous –EPFL Guide Robot We are primarily interested in autonomous robots

25 25 of 25 25 of 26 Autonomous Robot Control ActuatorsSensorsControl Deliberative Behaviour Reactive Behaviour Environment

26 26 of 25 26 of 26 Summary Today we: –Defined what we mean by a robot –Investigated some of the areas in which robots are used –Defined the key components of a robot –Started to think about robot control mechanisms Next time we start the real work

27 27 of 25 27 of 26 Questions ?

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