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App. B—Commissioned Background Papers

can b e

mad e

Thus,

users

upward compatible and automated can test the automation waters

piecewise. gradua1ly,

without a large initial capital barrier. Eighth, many potential robot applications require robot mo-

bility. tabletop.

Most

Small

robots today are bolted to

robots

can

reach

only

one

the floor or to a or two feet while

larger

ones

can

grasp objects nine or ten feet away.

But

many applications need robots which

can maneuver

over

much

larger

distances.

For

example,

a

robot

used

to

load

a

machine tool typically spends most of its time

waiting

the

machine

tool

to

finish

its

operations.

Sometimes

a

for sin-

gle robot

tools

so

can be positioned

that

it

can

be

more

between

two

or

fully

utilized.

more machine However, this

leads to cases is in which shuttle

severe crowding of the simply not practical.

work environment and in many There are a few applications

robots have been

mounted on

between

several

machines.

rails so that they Unfortunately} to

can date

this has proven too expensive and cumbersome for wide use.

scale

to the

work,

One

example

In many applications,

particularly in arc welding of

large

structures

like

ships

or buildings it is not practical to

bring the sometimes

work to the robot; over distances of

the robot must go many tens of feet.

is in the construction of

large

machinery

building

equipment.

Another

example

is

in

such as road the building of

ships. inside heads,

A good ship building robot would be able to maneuver

odd scale

shaped compartments, the side of the ship’s

climb over ribs and

hull,

and

weld

bulk- seams

several

hundred

feet in length.

Similar mobility require-

ments

exist

in

the

construction

of

buildings.

Construction

robots will need tered environment

to be able to manuever of a building site. In

through the

some

cases

clut- they

will

need

to

climb

stairs,

and

work

from

scaffolding.

Robots

will

also

be

used

in

undersea

exploration,

drilling,

and mining. and planets.

Robot

These

vehicles will someday explore the moon

applications

will

require

significant

new developments in mobility mechanisms.

Robot head

mobility in the factory using rails, carts, or

over-

conveyors

is

a

relatively

simple

problem

that

undoubt-

edly will bility on

be solved in the the construction

decade of the 1980’s.

site,

under

the

sea,

Robot

mo-

and

in

outer

space however,

is

processing,

and

another control

issue entirely.

The sensor,

problems

associated

with

these

data

as-

pects

of

robot

mobility

will

require

gears

of

concentrated

research. For the most part,

these eight problem areas encompass

pro–

found

scientific issues and engineering problems which will

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