Special Issue on Robot with Integrated Locomotion and Manipulation
Associate Professor, Cooperative Research Center, University of Electro-Communications, 1-5-1 Chofugaoka, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182, Japan
Recently, demand has risen for outdoor robots in architecture, civil engineering, agriculture, fire fighting, or restorations of earthquake disasters. For such cases, robots should have both locomotion and manipulation to work in unknown and unassisted fields. Since robot locomotion and manipulation have been researched independently, robots with integrated locomotion and manipulation are anticipated. However, problems involve the cooperative control of locomotor and manipulators or their integrated mechanisms. In January 1994, the Robotics Society of Japan set up an integrated locomotion and manipulation robot research committee whose aim is identify different aspects of such robots, such as analysis and synthesis of mechanisms, control theory for integrated locomotion and manipulation, and actual on-job applications. The Committee includes researchers from industry, government laboratories, and academia, who have discussed the possibilities of new type robots. The Committee organized sessions such as “Robots with Integrated Locomotion and Manipulations” in the 12th (1994) to 14th (1996) annual conferences of the Robotics Society of Japan and “Integrated Locomotion & Manipulation” in International Robotics Symposium IROS96. A special issue of “Integrated Locomotion and Manipulation” for the Journal of the Robotics Society of Japan was compiled and published in November 1995 by the Committee. In November 1996, the Committee handed in its final report to the Society and adjourned. The final report is in Japanese. As a Committee member, I have wanted to introduce some of the Final Report in English. Fortunately, the editors of the Journal of Robotics and Mechatronics have given me the opportunity to publish these reports in a special issue. Other Committee members have agreed to contribute as well. I thank the Committee — especially Chairman Dr. Tatsuo Arai (MEL), who encouraged me in writing this article. Special thanks go to Prof. Yamafuji, who introduced me to the editors who gave me the chance to publish this article.