The Historical of Robotic Development

Robots are programmable physical machines that have sensors and actuators, and are given goals for what they should achieve in the world. Perception algorithms process the sensor inputs, a control program decides how the robots should behave given its goals and current circumstances, and commands are sent to the motors to make the robot act in the world. Some robots are mobile. But others are rooted to a fix location.

The first deployed robots were in structured environments such as automobile assembly lines in the 1950s. At that time computation and sensors were both very expensive, so the environment for robots were specially constructed so that robot could effectively operate with little sensing or computation. Today’s manufacturing robots still follow the approach and so manufacturing robots are only used in industries where the overhead of building the necessary special environment can be absorbed. This restricted them to factories that produce very expensive objects such as automobiles or silicon wafers or very high volumes of unchanging products over many years.

Since the 1970s, most research in robotics has been targeted at extending robot capabilities to unstructured environments – environments not prepared specially for them. Early attempts concentrate on navigation, both indoors and outdoors, and the 1997 Mars rover Sojourner was the major deployed success. Ground robots have, since 2002, become common in the US military, tackling the problems of forward scouting and IED remediation.

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