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Basic Types of Robots
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which operate on a floor, road or ground usually employ wheels.
Tracks, legs, hopping, slithering, rolling body, among others are modes of mobility movement.
This is an introduction into the different Types of Robot Mobility.
Wheeled Mobile Robotics
We all know what a wheel is, but why use the wheel?
The wheel is an efficient means to move on a surface and requires no power to maintain position, except for the balancing robots such as the ball bot and Segway two-wheel robots.
Wheel systems are easily scalable in both size and quantity. Simply apply a rotational force to the wheel and your moving!
As the human race evolves, we humans will spend more time with our indoor robots.
But indoor mobile robots encounter a much more difficult, complex, navigation environment, scenarios and collision hazards than most other robotic types.
Basic types of robots
There are many robot types. Some physical, some not.
The non-physical robots
include such types as Avatars, simulated robots, software and virtual robots.
We have space based
- Zero Gravity robot vehicles, typically called “satellites”. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Hubble Space Telescopes (HST)
are prime examples.
Closer to Earth, we have atmospheric based robots
, such as fixed-wing flying, rotary helicopters, multi engine hover drones and floating Blimp robots.
Even closer, we have liquid water robot types
which include the surface water floating based,
unmanned boats and underwater or submergible robots such as mine sweepers, salvage and imaging robots.
And now on to land, and hard surfaces with indoor and outdoor robots
. These are the mobile robots we are interested in.
But we have other robot types. We have manipulator arms
, such as industrial robot arms, humanoid arms, as well as other non-industrial robot arms.
And that brings us to specialty and hard to classify
robotic systems, such as DNA sequencers, tape libraries, robot brick layers,
some 3D printers, pipe inspection, power line inspection, pool cleaners, and some complex industrial automation systems.
Now, back to dry land and hard surface robots, where we have subtypes here, such as:
or walking robots
, Wheeled Mobile Robots
Hybrid Robots and robotic mobility that cannot be easily classified such as hopping,
crawling or slithering. We are sure there are more robotic movement types out there, or that will soon be invented.
Now, considering Legged Robots
robots are typically modeled after biology's dynamic and kinematic
with features like the type of Gait, and if the Gait is periodic,
or non-periodic or even free Gait.
is the limbed movement locomotion)
How do the robots “Stand
”? Are the legged robots static balanced, or are they actively dynamic balanced, such as the inverted pendulum mode of operation?
Legged robots have varying numbers of legs, for instance two legs for humanoid based, or using three or more legs minimum for tripod stability,
we see the case for 4 legged animals as a 3-legged case with one leg for redundancy.
Do the legs provide asymptotically stability, or are they Neutrally stable?
No matter what type of legged implementation, the ability to lift a foot off the surface allows most the ablity to
transverse certain obstacles like stepping over a wire or mobility on stairs better than wheeled vehicles.
Sometimes legs are used with other modes of mobility. These hybrid drives are combinations of other mobility types.
One hybrid mobility
type combines legs with wheels, and that offers some truly unique mobility options.
Many hybrid mobility types offer holonomic 4-DoF
Two such examples are the “Roller-Walker” robot, using four legs with un-powered wheels, allows walking and wheeled “skating”.
Another example is the creative Halluc II, with eight legs, with active wheels, allowing multiple modes of walking and wheeled movements.
And this brings us to Wheeled Mobile Robotics
Even under the Wheeled category, there are several sub-types of wheeled vehicles.
Most wheeled vehicles have Equivalent Models
, which we have detailed on our web links below.
Single Unit Mobility
Omni – Directional Mobility
- hybrid Mobility are combinations of other mobility types.
Holonomic Mobility Drive
The choice of robotic mobility will probably fall into two groups.
One group will use end-users
, who are considering purchasing a robot and pick a vehicle or robot based on overall specifications.
The other group are the robotic mobility system engineers
, who’s design choices create new products.
You need to be aware of the robot’s fundamental operating characteristics.
These characteristics include the size and weight of the robot, indoor or outdoor use, payload and lifting capacity,
towing requirements, and any impact on its environment such as noise and heat output. And do not forget the “gotcha” - Battery Runtime
The choice of mobility drive technology used in a robot is up to the designer, its targeted end use, costs, the level of desired mobility and speed of travel.
It is hard to design suitability, maintainability and flexibility to meet current and future tasks while delaying obsolescence.
Just ponder the issues of robot mass related accelerations, rolling resistance and wheel slippage, which are the biggest mechanical “work
factors in energy consumption. Air drag
is not a factor for indoor mobile robots.
Any power train gear reduction causes efficiency issues and friction, which also consume significant amounts
of mechanical power. Your motors and motor control electronics can consume energy even while not performing mechanical work,
it’s just lost heat, plus your servo system may experience conversion losses when performing this “work
You will find for a given task, a robot has fixed parameters relating to its weight, power train and electronic efficiencies.
The robot mobility design choices you make can influence your vehicles movement efficiencies, maybe even creating time and energy savings.
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