Robot Communication

A robot is expected to take inputs from its environment, process the data, make a decision and accomplish necessary actions. To do this, your robot should be either autonomous, i.e. capable of making decisions, or controlled by a human who would lead the robot to accomplish a particular task.

Autonomous robot

This is a type of robot which can perform desired activities without human intervention or guidance. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways. Some robots may use pre-programmed logic to accomplish a task (example: an industrial robot which performs only few specific activities as programmed), and others my use a high degree of autonomy which includes an arrangement of complex set of sensors, feedback control and programming. Robots with high degree of freedom are expected to learn new techniques, gain new capabilities and adjusting strategies depending on the environment it works.  The general control technique is to program a robot to respond in a certain way for certain conditions. For example, consider an autonomous object avoidance robot. When the robot bumps into an object, the program in the robot board tells it to back off. This pre-programmed activity does not require any human intervention. This is pure logic and does not make a robot intelligent; whatever the object may be, your robot backs off even when you don’t want it to.

There are many different control techniques used in autonomous robots like Fuzzy logic, neural networks, evolutionary computation, adaptive control, hierarchical control etc. Some of these techniques (example: neural networks) helps a robot learn from experience and perform specific activities. Research on Artificially intelligent machines is going on and you may one day expect your robot to understand your emotions and get you a beer. Till then expect your robot to do what it is programmed to do.

Controlled robots

As mentioned before, “Robot is a combination of electronics, mechanics and programming which senses it’s surrounding through its sensors, processes the sensor information and does something in response”. This does not mean that all robots should be autonomous. Most of the robots designed are semi-autonomous; few decisions are intelligently controlled by the robot and few others are controlled by a human. As an example, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is capable of flying its entire machine without human intervention but requires human guidance while landing. There are many different ways to control a robot and are broadly classified as wired and wireless control.

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