Autonomous robot
Overview
 
Autonomous robots are robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

s that can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous human guidance. Many kinds of robots have some degree of autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways. A high degree of autonomy is particularly desirable in fields such as space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

, cleaning floors, mowing lawns, and waste water treatment.

Some modern factory robots are "autonomous" within the strict confines of their direct environment.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Autonomous robots are robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

s that can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous human guidance. Many kinds of robots have some degree of autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways. A high degree of autonomy is particularly desirable in fields such as space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

, cleaning floors, mowing lawns, and waste water treatment.

Some modern factory robots are "autonomous" within the strict confines of their direct environment. It may not be that every degree of freedom exists in their surrounding environment, but the factory robot's workplace is challenging and can often contain chaotic, unpredicted variables. The exact orientation and position of the next object of work and (in the more advanced factories) even the type of object and the required task must be determined. This can vary unpredictably (at least from the robot's point of view).

One important area of robotics research is to enable the robot to cope with its environment whether this be on land, underwater, in the air, underground, or in space.

A fully autonomous robot has the ability to
  • Gain information about the environment (Rule #1)
  • Work for an extended period without human intervention (Rule #2)
  • Move either all or part of itself throughout its operating environment without human assistance (Rule #3)
  • Avoid situations that are harmful to people, property, or itself unless those are part of its design specifications (Rule #4)
  • Maintain its own survival at the expense of the previous rules (the Sentient Robot Mandate)


An autonomous robot may also learn or gain new capabilities like adjusting strategies for accomplishing its task(s) or adapting to changing surroundings.

Autonomous robots still require regular maintenance, as do other machines.

Self-maintenance

The first requirement for complete physical autonomy is the ability for a robot to take care of itself. Many of the battery powered robots on the market today can find and connect to a charging station, and some toys like Sony's Aibo
AIBO
AIBO was one of several types of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony...

are capable of self-docking to charge their batteries.

Self maintenance is based on "proprioception
Proprioception
Proprioception , from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement...

", or sensing one's own internal status. In the battery charging example, the robot can tell proprioceptively that its batteries are low and it then seeks the charger. Another common proprioceptive sensor is for heat monitoring. Increased proprioception will be required for robots to work autonomously near people and in harsh environments.
  • Common proprioceptive sensors are
Thermal
Hall Effect
Hall effect
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current...

Optical
Contact

Sensing the environment

Exteroception is sensing things about the environment. Autonomous robots must have a range of environmental sensors to perform their task and stay out of trouble.
  • Common exteroceptive sensors are
Electromagnetic spectrum
Electromagnetic spectrum
The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. The "electromagnetic spectrum" of an object is the characteristic distribution of electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by that particular object....

Sound
Sound
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...

Touch
Chemical sensors (smell, odor
Odor
An odor or odour is caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration, that humans or other animals perceive by the sense of olfaction. Odors are also commonly called scents, which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors...

)
Temperature
Range to things in the environment
Attitude (Inclination)


Some robotic lawn mowers will adapt their programming by detecting the speed in which grass grows as needed to maintain a perfect cut lawn, and some vacuum cleaning robots have dirt detectors that sense how much dirt is being picked up and use this information to tell them to stay in one area longer.

Task performance

The next step in autonomous behavior is to actually perform a physical task. A new area showing commercial promise is domestic robots, with a flood of small vacuuming robots beginning with iRobot
IRobot
iRobot Corporation is an American advanced technology company founded in 1990 and incorporated in Delaware in 2000, the iRobot Corporation designs robots such as an autonomous home vacuum cleaner , the Scooba that scrubs and cleans hard floors, and military and police robots, such as the PackBot...

 and Electrolux
Electrolux
The Electrolux Group is a Swedish appliance maker.As of 2010 the 2nd largest home appliance manufacturer in the world after Whirlpool, its products sell under a variety of brand names including its own and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners...

 in 2002. While the level of intelligence is not high in these systems, they navigate over wide areas and pilot in tight situations around homes using contact and non-contact sensors. Both of these robots use proprietary algorithms to increase coverage over simple random bounce.

The next level of autonomous task performance requires a robot to perform conditional tasks. For instance, security robots can be programmed to detect intruders and respond in a particular way depending upon where the intruder is.

Indoor position sensing and navigation

For a robot to associate behaviors with a place (localization) requires it to know where it is and to be able to navigate point-to-point. Such navigation began with wire-guidance in the 1970s and progressed in the early 2000s to beacon-based triangulation
Triangulation
In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly...

. Current commercial robots autonomously navigate based on sensing natural features. The first commercial robots to achieve this were Pyxus' HelpMate hospital robot and the CyberMotion guard robot, both designed by robotics pioneers in the 1980s. These robots originally used manually created CAD floor plans, sonar sensing and wall-following variations to navigate buildings. The next generation, such as MobileRobots' PatrolBot
PatrolBot
PatrolBot is a programmable autonomous general purpose service robot rover built by MobileRobots Inc. PatrolBots are manufactured in various configurations and serve as bases for companies developing delivery robots, security robots, environmental monitoring rovers, robot guides and other indoor...

 and autonomous wheelchair both introduced in 2004, have the ability to create their own laser-based maps of a building and to navigate open areas as well as corridors. Their control system changes its path on-the-fly if something blocks the way.

At first, autonomous navigation was based on planar sensors, such as laser range-finders, that can only sense at one level. The most advanced systems now fuse information from various sensors for both localization (position) and navigation. Systems such as Motivity can rely on different sensors in different areas, depending upon which provides the most reliable data at the time, and can re-map a building autonomously.

Rather than climb stairs, which requires highly specialized hardware, most indoor robots navigate handicapped-accessible areas, controlling elevators and electronic doors. With such electronic access-control interfaces, robots can now freely navigate indoors. Autonomously climbing stairs and opening doors manually are topics of research at the current time.

As these indoor techniques continue to develop, vacuuming robots will gain the ability to clean a specific user specified room or a whole floor. Security robots will be able to cooperatively surround intruders and cut off exits. These advances also bring concommitant protections: robots' internal maps typically permit "forbidden areas" to be defined to prevent robots from autonomously entering certain regions.

Outdoor autonomous position-sensing and navigation

Outdoor autonomy is most easily achieved in the air, since obstacles are rare. Cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s are rather dangerous highly autonomous robots. Pilotless drone aircraft are increasingly used for reconnaissance. Some of these unmanned aerial vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

s (UAVs) are capable of flying their entire mission without any human interaction at all except possibly for the landing where a person intervenes using radio remote control. But some drone aircraft are capable of a safe, automatic landing also.

Outdoor autonomy is the most difficult for ground vehicles, due to: a) 3-dimensional terrain; b) great disparities in surface density; c) weather exigencies and d) instability of the sensed environment.

In the US, the MDARS project, which defined and built a prototype outdoor surveillance robot in the 1990s, is now moving into production and will be implemented in 2006. The General Dynamics MDARS robot can navigate semi-autonomously and detect intruders, using the MRHA software architecture planned for all unmanned military vehicles. The Seekur robot was the first commercially available robot to demonstrate MDARS-like capabilities for general use by airports, utility plants, corrections facilities and Homeland Security
Homeland security
Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activity. Specifically, is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do...

.

The Mars rovers MER-A and MER-B (now known as Spirit rover
Spirit rover
Spirit, MER-A , is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity , landed on the other side of the planet...

 and Opportunity rover
Opportunity rover
Opportunity, MER-B , is a robotic rover on the planet Mars, active since 2004. It is the remaining rover in NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission...

) can find the position of the sun and navigate their own routes to destinations on the fly by:
  • mapping the surface with 3-D vision
  • computing safe and unsafe areas on the surface within that field of vision
  • computing optimal paths across the safe area towards the desired destination
  • driving along the calculated route;
  • repeating this cycle until either the destination is reached, or there is no known path to the destination


The planned ESA Rover, ExoMars Rover, is capable of vision based relative localisation and absolute localisation to autonomously navigate safe and efficient trajectorys to targets by:
  • reconstructing 3D models of the terrain surrounding the Rover using a pair of stereo cameras
  • determining safe and unsafe areas of the terrain and the general 'difficulty' for the Rover to navigate the terrain
  • computing efficient paths across the safe area towards the desired destination
  • driving the Rover along the planned path
  • building up a 'Navigation Map' of all past navigation data


The DARPA Grand Challenge
DARPA Grand Challenge
The DARPA Grand Challenge is a prize competition for driverless vehicles, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the most prominent research organization of the United States Department of Defense...

 and DARPA Urban Challenge have encouraged development of even more autonomous capabilities for ground vehicles, while this has been the demonstrated goal for aerial robots since 1990 as part of the AUVSI International Aerial Robotics Competition
International Aerial Robotics Competition
The International Aerial Robotics Competition began in 1991 on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology and is the longest running university-based robotics competition in the world...

.

Open problems in autonomous robotics

There are several open problems in autonomous robotics which are special to the field rather than being a part of the general pursuit of AI.

Energy autonomy & foraging

Researchers concerned with creating true artificial life
Artificial life
Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986...

 are concerned not only with intelligent control, but further with the capacity of the robot to find its own resources through foraging
Foraging
- Definitions and significance of foraging behavior :Foraging is the act of searching for and exploiting food resources. It affects an animal's fitness because it plays an important role in an animal's ability to survive and reproduce...

 (looking for food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, which includes both energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 and spare parts).

This is related to autonomous foraging, a concern within the science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

s of behavioral ecology
Behavioral ecology
Behavioral ecology, or ethoecology, is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment...

, social anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

, and human behavioral ecology
Human behavioral ecology
Human behavioral ecology or human evolutionary ecology applies the principles of evolutionary theory and optimization to the study of human behavioral and cultural diversity. HBE examines the adaptive design of traits, behaviors, and life histories of humans in an ecological context...

; as well as robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

ics, artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

, and artificial life
Artificial life
Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986...

.
AS(Autonomous System) that allow moving through a real world environment to perform its tasks including locomotion, localization, motion planning and sensing.
Within the Internet, an Autonomous System (AS) is a collection of connected Internet Protocol (IP) routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators that presents a common, clearly defined routing policy to the Internet.[1]
Originally the definition required control by a single entity, typically an Internet service provider or a very large organization with independent connections to multiple networks, that adhere to a single and clearly defined routing policy, as originally defined in RFC 1771.[2] The newer definition in RFC 1930 came into use because multiple organizations can run BGP using private AS numbers to an ISP that connects all those organizations to the Internet. Even though there may be multiple Autonomous Systems supported by the ISP, the Internet only sees the routing policy of the ISP. That ISP must have an officially registered Autonomous System Number (ASN).
A unique ASN is allocated to each AS for use in BGP routing. AS numbers are important because the ASN uniquely identifies each network on the Internet.
Until 2007, AS numbers were defined as 16-bit integers, which allowed for a maximum of 65536 assignments. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has designated AS numbers 64512 through 65534 to be used for private purposes. The ASNs 0, 59392–64511, and 65535 are reserved by the IANA and should not be used in any routing environment. ASN 0 may be used to label non-routed networks. All other ASNs (1–54271) are subject to assignment by IANA, and, as of September 9, 2008, only 49152–54271 remained unassigned. RFC 4893 introduced 32-bit AS numbers, which IANA has begun to allocate. These numbers are written either as simple integers, or in the form x.y, where x and y are 16-bit numbers. Numbers of the form 0.y are exactly the old 16-bit AS numbers, 1.y numbers and 65535.65535 are reserved, and the remainder of the space is available for allocation.[3] The accepted textual representation of Autonomous System Numbers is defined in RFC 5396.[4]

See also

  • AIBO
    AIBO
    AIBO was one of several types of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony...

  • Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

  • Cognitive robotics
    Cognitive robotics
    a robot is a robot device that is built from inanimate matter. Its behavior in response to the environment is deterministic, based on how the robot was designed. Cognition is the process of acquiring and using knowledge about the world for goal-oriented purposes, such as survival...

  • domestic robot
    Domestic robot
    A domestic robot is a robot used for household chores. Thus far, there are only a few limited models, though science fiction writers and other speculators have suggested that they could become more common in the future...

  • Driverless car
    Driverless car
    An autonomous car, also known as robotic or informally as driverless, is an autonomous vehicle capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating on its own...

  • Epigenetic robotics
  • Evolutionary robotics
    Evolutionary robotics
    Evolutionary robotics is a methodology that uses evolutionary computation to develop controllers for autonomous robots. Algorithms in ER frequently operate on populations of candidate controllers, initially selected from some distribution. This population is then repeatedly modified according to...

  • Friendly Robotics
    Friendly Robotics
    Friendly Robotics is a retailer of autonomous Lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners . It was founded in Pardesia, Israel in 1995, by Udi Peless and Shai Abramson. It supplies its products to the markets of the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Future plans for the Company...

  • Humanoid robot
    Humanoid robot
    A humanoid robot or an anthropomorphic robot is a robot with its overall appearance, based on that of the human body, allowing interaction with made-for-human tools or environments. In general humanoid robots have a torso with a head, two arms and two legs, although some forms of humanoid robots...

  • Intelligent system
    Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

  • Robotic mower
  • Microbot
    MicroBot
    MicroBot is a twin-stick shooter video game developed by Naked Sky Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was released on the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on December 29, 2010 and on PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network on January 4, 2011. In the game the player controls a...

  • PatrolBot
    PatrolBot
    PatrolBot is a programmable autonomous general purpose service robot rover built by MobileRobots Inc. PatrolBots are manufactured in various configurations and serve as bases for companies developing delivery robots, security robots, environmental monitoring rovers, robot guides and other indoor...

  • Penguin Robot
    Penguin Robot
    The Penguin Robot is a bipedal robot with two directions of freedom, using two servos for walking.It is a precision-machined 4" tall biped with an embedded BASIC Stamp 2px24 microcontroller...

  • Simultaneous localization and mapping
    Simultaneous localization and mapping
    Simultaneous localization and mapping is a technique used by robots and autonomous vehicles to build up a map within an unknown environment , or to update a map within a known environment , while at the same time keeping track of their current location.- Operational definition :Maps are used...

  • von Neumann machine
    Von Neumann machine
    Von Neumann machine may refer to:.* Von Neumann architecture, a conceptual model of a computer architecture* The IAS machine, a computer designed in the 1940s based on von Neuman's design...

  • Wake-up robot problem
    Wake-up robot problem
    In robotics, the wake-up robot problem refers to a situation where an autonomous robot is carried to an arbitrary location and put to operation, and the robot must localize itself without any prior knowledge....

  • William Grey Walter
    William Grey Walter
    W. Grey Walter was a neurophysiologist and robotician.-Overview:Walter was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. His ancestry was German/British on his father's side, and American/British on his mother's side. He was brought to England in 1915, and educated at Westminster School and afterwards...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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