Autonomous robots are intelligent machines capable of performing tasks in the world by themselves, without explicit human control. Examples range from autonomous helicopters to Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner. In this book, George Bekey offers an introduction to the science and practice of autonomous robots that can be used both in the classroom and as a reference for industry professionals.
Cynthia Breazeal here presents her vision of the sociable robot of the future, a synthetic creature and not merely a sophisticated tool. A sociable robot will be able to understand us, to communicate and interact with us, to learn from us and grow with us. It will be socially intelligent in a humanlike way. Eventually sociable robots will assist us in our daily lives, as collaborators and companions.
The biannual International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior brings together researchers from ethology, psychology, ecology, artificial intelligence, artificial life, robotics, engineering, and related fields to advance the understanding of behaviors and underlying mechanisms that allow natural and synthetic agents (animats) to adapt and survive in uncertain environments.
The complex social behaviors of ants have been much studied by science, and computer scientists are now finding that these behavior patterns can provide models for solving difficult combinatorial optimization problems. The attempt to develop algorithms inspired by one aspect of ant behavior, the ability to find what computer scientists would call shortest paths, has become the field of ant colony optimization (ACO), the most successful and widely recognized algorithmic technique based on ant behavior.
Evolutionary robotics is a new technique for the automatic creation of autonomous robots. Inspired by the Darwinian principle of selective reproduction of the fittest, it views robots as autonomous artificial organisms that develop their own skills in close interaction with the environment and without human intervention. Drawing heavily on biology and ethology, it uses the tools of neural networks, genetic algorithms, dynamic systems, and biomorphic engineering.
Over the last forty years, researchers have made great strides in elucidating the laws of image formation, processing, and understanding by animals, humans, and machines. This book describes the state of knowledge in one subarea of vision, the geometric laws that relate different views of a scene. Geometry, one of the oldest branches of mathematics, is the natural language for describing three-dimensional shapes and spatial relations.
Foundations of Robotics presents the fundamental concepts and methodologies for the analysis, design, and control of robot manipulators. It explains the physical meaning of the concepts and equations used, and it provides, in an intuitively clear way, the necessary background in kinetics, linear algebra, and control theory. Illustrative examples appear throughout.
Two important subproblems of computer vision are the detection and recognition of 2D objects in gray-level images. This book discusses the construction and training of models, computational approaches to efficient implementation, and parallel implementations in biologically plausible neural network architectures. The approach is based on statistical modeling and estimation, with an emphasis on simplicity, transparency, and computational efficiency.