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George A. Bekey

George A. Bekey is Professor Emeritus in Computer Science at University of Southern California and Distinguished Professor of Engineering at California Polytechnic State University.

Titles by This Author

From Biological Inspiration to Implementation and Control

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. He surveys the hardware implementations of more than 300 current systems, reviews some of their application areas, and examines the underlying technology, including control, architectures, learning, manipulation, grasping, navigation, and mapping. Living systems can be considered the prototypes of autonomous systems, and Bekey explores the biological inspiration that forms the basis of many recent developments in robotics. He also discusses robot control issues and the design of control architectures.

After an overview of the field that introduces some of its fundamental concepts, the book presents background material on hardware, control (from both biological and engineering perspectives), software architecture, and robot intelligence. It then examines a broad range of implementations and applications, including locomotion (wheeled, legged, flying, swimming, and crawling robots), manipulation (both arms and hands), localization, navigation, and mapping. The many case studies and specific applications include robots built for research, industry, and the military, among them underwater robotic vehicles, walking machines with four, six, and eight legs, and the famous humanoid robots Cog, Kismet, ASIMO, and QRIO. The book concludes with reflections on the future of robotics—the potential benefits as well as the possible dangers that may arise from large numbers of increasingly intelligent and autonomous robots.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: file of figures in the book

Titles by This Editor

The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics

Robots today serve in many roles, from entertainer to educator to executioner. As robotics technology advances, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should robots be programmed to follow a code of ethics, if this is even possible? Are there risks in forming emotional bonds with robots? How might society--and ethics--change with robotics? This volume is the first book to bring together prominent scholars and experts from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions in this emerging field.
Starting with an overview of the issues and relevant ethical theories, the topics flow naturally from the possibility of programming robot ethics to the ethical use of military robots in war to legal and policy questions, including liability and privacy concerns. The contributors then turn to human-robot emotional relationships, examining the ethical implications of robots as sexual partners, caregivers, and servants. Finally, they explore the possibility that robots, whether biological-computational hybrids or pure machines, should be given rights or moral consideration.
Ethics is often slow to catch up with technological developments. This authoritative and accessible volume fills a gap in both scholarly literature and policy discussion, offering an impressive collection of expert analyses of the most crucial topics in this increasingly important field.