Mobile Robots

Wheels (Ground)

Of all the robots that move autonomously, robots that move on wheels on the ground are probably the most widely developed. Robots that move on wheels on the ground can be categorized by the type of place they travel.

  • On the road (automated vehicles)
  • In factories (AGVs, autonomous automatic guided vehicles, AMRs)
  • Inside a residence (cleaning robots)
  • In buildings (commercial cleaning robots, security robots)
  • Farmland (automated tractors, crop growth robots)
  • Rough terrain (mining robots, construction robots) * Often handled by armored vehicles

The most common number of wheels seems to be three or four, but there are also patterns with six or eight wheels.

Armored Vehicle Type (Ground)

A track-mounted vehicle is a vehicle known as a “caterpillar” in Japan. They move by rotating a wheeled (bead-linked) board called an “infinite track. It has the advantage of being able to go over rough roads that are difficult to travel on wheels. (Wheels can get stuck in hollows and become stuck.

Walking Type (Ground)

Bipedal robots and quadrupedal robots correspond to this type. These are robots that mimic the gait of humans or animals. This type of robot is chosen for the purpose of going over “bumps” that are difficult to move with wheeled or armored vehicles, or for the purpose of expressing human-like or animal-like characteristics.

Drone (Short-Range Aerial)

Robots for flying in the air have come to be called “drones. Many drones have functions that allow them to stabilize their posture in the air, and are used for taking images from the air. Other drones are also sold as toys that are fun to operate. The disadvantage of drones is that it is difficult to travel long distances.

Long-Range Aerial (Airplane, Helicopter, Rocket)

Devices that travel long distances in the air include helicopters, airplanes, and rockets. Helicopters are mainly operated by humans, so they fall outside the definition of robots. Airplanes are operated by humans for takeoff and landing, but fly automatically in the air, so this part of the airplane may be classified as a robot. Rockets move almost autonomously after launch, so as a function they can be classified as robots. On the other hand, the power source for all of these is the internal combustion engine. In this site, we do not have a clear definition of the power source for robots, but we will first give priority to devices powered by a power source. Therefore, devices that travel long distances in the air will be lowered in priority for organization.

Automatic Carrier (Water)

A robot that moves on water is called an “automatic carrier”. They are being developed for the purpose of automating the transport of cargo by sea. At the time of writing (as of 2020), it has not yet been put to practical use, and is still in trial operation.

Underwater Drone (Underwater)

A robot that moves underwater is called an “underwater drone”. They are used in surveys in oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Like airborne drones, they are already in practical use.

Automatic Train (Rail Movement)

Robots that move on pre-laid rails include self-driving trains. In Japan, “Yurikamome” is in operation. There are also robots operating in factories and warehouses.

Wire Movement

There are also robots that move along wires strung in the air. They are used, for example, in sports stadiums to capture images from various angles. Drones can do the same thing, but wire-operated robots have the advantages of longer operation time (less battery usage) and less risk of falling.

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