Robotics » Mobile Robotics

Mobile Robots - State of the Art in Land, Sea, Air, and Collaborative Missions

Edited by XiaoQi Chen, Y.Q. Chen and J.G. Chase, ISBN 978-953-307-001-8, 335 pages, Publisher: InTech, Chapters published May 01, 2009 under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license
Edited Volume

Since the introduction of the first industrial robot Unimate in a General Motors automobile factory in New Jersey in 1961, robots have gained stronger and stronger foothold in the industry. In the meantime, robotics research has been expanding from fix based robots to mobile robots at a stunning pace. There have been significant milestones that are worth noting in recent decades. Examples are the octopus-like Tentacle Arm developed by Marvin Minsky in 1968, the Stanford Cart crossing a chair-filled room without human assistance in 1979, and most recently, humanoid robots developed by Honda. Despite rapid technological developments and extensive research efforts in mobility, perception, navigation and control, mobile robots still fare badly in comparison with human abilities. For example, in physical interactions with subjects and objects in an operational environment, a human being can easily relies on his/her intuitively force-based servoing to accomplish contact tasks, handling and processing materials and interacting with people safely and precisely. The intuitiveness, learning ability and contextual knowledge, which are natural part of human instincts, are hard to come by for robots. The above observations simply highlight the monumental works and challenges ahead when researchers aspire to turn mobile robots to greater benefits to humankinds. This book is by no means to address all the issues associated mobile robots, but reports current states of some challenging research projects in mobile robotics ranging from land, humanoid, underwater, aerial robots, to rehabilitation.