This fifth biannual Workshop on Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics focuses on algorithmic issues related to robotics and automation. The design and analysis of robot algorithms raises fundamental questions in computer science, computational geometry, mechanical modeling, operations research, control theory, and associated fields. The highly selective program highlights significant new results such as algorithmic models and complexity bounds. The validation of algorithms, design concepts, or techniques is the common thread running through this focused collection.
Distributed manipulation can be performed by many types of mechanisms at different scales. Due to the recent advances of MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) technology, it has become feasible to quickly manufacture distributed micro-manipulators at low cost. One such system is an actuator array where hundreds of micro-scaled actuators transport and manipulate small objects that rest on them. Macroscopic versions of the actuator array have also been developed and analyzed. Another form of distributed manipulation is derived from a vibrating plate, and teams of mobile robots have been used to herd large objects into desired locations.
There are many fundamental issues involved in distributed manipulation. Since a distributed manipulator has many actuators, distributed control strategies must be considered to effectively manipulate objects. A basic understanding of contact analysis between the actuators and object must also be considered. When each actuator in the array has a sensor, distributed sensing presents some basic research challenges. Distributed computation and communication are key issues to enable the successful deployment of distributed manipulators into use. Finally, the trade-off in centralized and de-centralized approaches in all of these algorithms must be investigated.
Engineers have taken advantage of the extra mobility of the advanced robots to make them work in constrained environments, ranging from limited joint motions for redundant (or hyper-redundant) manipulators to obstacles in the way of mobile (ground, marine, and aerial) robots.
Since these constraints usually depend on the work environment, they are variable. Engineers have had to invent methods to allow the robots to deal with a variety of constraints automatically. A robot that is equipped with those methods is called an Autonomous Robot.
Autonomous Robots: Kinematics, Path Planning, and Control covers the kinematics and dynamic modeling/analysis of Autonomous Robots, as well as the methods suitable for their control. The text is suitable for mechanical and electrical engineers who want to familiarize themselves with methods of modeling/analysis/control that have been proven efficient through research.