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Autonomous Robots. Key questions in mobile robotics What is around me? Where am I ? Where am I going ? How do I get there ? Alternatively, these questions correspond to Sensor Interpretation : what objects are there in the vicinity?

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Autonomous robots
Autonomous Robots

  • Key questions in mobile robotics

    • What is around me?

    • Where am I ?

    • Where am I going ?

    • How do I get there ?

  • Alternatively, these questions correspond to

    • Sensor Interpretation: what objects are there in the vicinity?

    • Localization: find your own position in a map (given or built autonomously)

    • Map building: how to integrate sensor information and your own movement?

    • Path planning: decide the actions to perform for reaching a target position

[Many following robot slides courtesy Steffen Gutmann, SONY Labs]

Current trends in robotics
Current Trends in Robotics

Robots are moving away from factory floors to

  • Entertainment robots

  • Personal services

  • Medical, surgery

  • Industrial automation(mining, harvesting, ...)

  • Hazardous environments(space, underwater)

  • Military

    • UGV, UAV, AUV

    • Transitioning from remote control to autonomous control

Ai view on mobile robotics
AI View on Mobile Robotics

Sensor data

Control system

World model



  • HELPMATE is a mobile robot used in hospitals for transportation tasks. It has various on board sensors for autonomous navigation in the corridors. The main sensor for localization is a camera looking to the ceiling. It can detect the lamps on the ceiling as reference (landmark).

Cleaning robot sinas
Cleaning Robot - Sinas

  • Autonomous cleaning robot with Sinas navigation system (developed by Siemens) and manifactured by Karcher. The robot is equipped with several sonar sensors, a laser range finder and a gyroscope.

Sinas video
Sinas Video

CS225B Kurt Konolige

Rov tiburon underwater robot
ROV Tiburon Underwater Robot

  • Picture of robot ROV Tiburon for underwater archaeology (teleoperated)- used by MBARI for deep-sea research, this UAV provides autonomous hovering capabilities for the human operator.

Sojourner first robot on mars
Sojourner, First Robot on Mars

The mobile robot Sojourner was used during the Pathfinder mission to explore the mars in summer 1997. It was nearly fully teleoperated from earth. However, some on board sensors allowed for obstacle detection.

The b21 robot
The B21 Robot

B21 of Real World Interface is a sophisticated mobile robot with up to three Intel Pentium processors on board. It has all different kinds of on board sensors for high performance navigation tasks.

Minerva cmu univ bonn 1998
Minerva (CMU + Univ. Bonn, 1998)

Courtesy Sebastian Thrun, CMU

Pioneer 1
Pioneer 1

  • PIONEER 1 is a modular mobile robot offering various options like a gripper or an on board camera. It is equipped with a sophisticated navigation library developed at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and manifactured by ActivMedia Robotics

Emotional robots kismet
Emotional Robots: Kismet

Courtesy Cynthia Breazeal, MIT

Sony s aibo robot
Sony's AIBO Robot

First model (1998)

Latest model ERS 7 (2004)

The honda walking robot asimo
The Honda Walking Robot Asimo

Qrio navigation
QRIO Navigation

CS225B Kurt Konolige

Darpa grand challenge
Darpa Grand Challenge

Stanley is based on a VW Touareg R5

with 7 Pentium M computers

incorporating measurements from

GPS, INS, and wheel speed for

pose estimation.

The environment is perceived through

4 laser range finders, a radar system,

a stereo camera pair, and a monocular

vision system. Sensor data is processed

at rates between 10 and 100 Hertz.

Map and pose information are

incorporated at 10 Hz, enabling Stanley

to avoid collisions with obstacles in

real-time while advancing along the

2005 DARPA Grand Challenge route.

Standford's Stanley “racing car”

Sample tracking visualization

Darpa grand challenge video
Darpa Grand Challenge Video

Courtesy Sebastian Thrun, Stanford University

Darpa learning applied to ground robotics
Darpa Learning Applied to Ground Robotics

  • Autonomous outdoor vehicle in unstructured environments

  • Main sensor is stereo vision

  • Learn models of terrain traversability

Stanford Mausoleum Run

Robot-view Interpretation

Global Map

Bigdog quadruped beast of burden
BigDog: Quadruped Beast of Burden

  • Autonomous outdoor vehicle in unstructured environments

  • Internal sensors only

Video from Boston Dynamics

Trends in robotics research
Trends in Robotics Research

  • Classical AI Robotics (mid-70’s)

  • Sense-Plan-Act

  • Complex world model and reasoning

Indoor, wheeled, static blocks world

  • Reactive Paradigm (mid-80’s)

  • No models: “the world is the model”

  • Simple sense-act functions

  • Emergent behavior

Static legged motion,

robot swarms,


Complex environments,

mapping and localization,

human-robot interactions

  • Hybrid Architectures (90’s)

  • Models at higher levels, reactive at lower levels

  • Mid-level executive to sequence actions

Challenging outdoor environments

Air, water vehicles

Dynamic legged motion

  • Probabilistic Methods (mid-90’s)

  • Uncertain sensing and acting

  • Integration of models, sensing, acting