image CHAPTER 2

A Quick Sketch of Major Issues in Robotics

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

– Winston Churchill

The material in this chapter is given primarily as a review and is structured quite similar to such reviews elsewhere (see, for example, Ref. 6). Some sections—in particular, Sections 2.5 and 2.6—are only tangentially relevant to our main topic of sensor-based motion planning, so they can be just glanced through or skipped by those who have had some introductory course in robotics. Those who have not are suggested to go through this chapter more carefully.

Robotics is a multidisciplinary field. It deals with a multiplicity of issues, and its tools relate to various disciplines, from mechanical engineering to computer science to mathematics to human factors. The issues covered in this chapter relate to generating a desired motion—that is, motion that would bring the robot to the right destination, with acceptable dynamics and collision-free. Addressing the reader who knows little about robotics, our goal is to give at least a perfunctory understanding of areas that relate to motion planning. Besides those, other areas may be as essential to a designer of robotic systems: object manipulation (e.g., design of hands and appropriate intelligence); grasping, which in turn divides into precision grasping and power grasping (think of ...

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