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The CLAWAR project - Developments in the oldest robotics thematic network

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Networking is vital to ensure that research groups and companies can work together on common problems to make the advances that are required. Without such networking, it is inevitable that resources will be wasted through the duplication of effort. CLAWAR is a mature robotics R&D community that has already proved itself capable of collaborating and moving things forward. Within the community, the feeling is that open modularity is the only viable way forward whereby the interconnection between the components are widely available to everyone and the inventive intellectual property should be within the components.
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n Europe, there are two main thematic groups focusing on
robotics, the Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR)
project ( and the European Robot-
ics Network (EURON) project (
The two networks are complementary: CLAWAR is
industrially focused on the immediate needs, and EURON is
focused more on blue skies research. This article presents the
activities of the CLAWAR project.
CLAWAR is the oldest robotics thematic network in
Europe. The well-established project commenced on 1 Febru-
ary 1998 following a six-month exploratory phase in which
over 60 active research groups were identified by the project
coordinator, Prof. Gurvinder Singh Virk, who at that time was
working at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
At the start, 22 of the most active and experienced partners
working in the area of applied mobile robotics were invited to
set up CLAWAR as the first European robotic network under
the industrially focused Brite Euram program. The network
has been operating ever since and is now well placed to
encourage the development of a robot component modularity
that can be used by the entire robot research and development
(R&D) community, from blue skies researchers to companies
manufacturing and selling robot components and systems.
The traditional robot market is geared towards manufactur-
ing applications. This well-established market has been stable
for many years but is not likely to grow appreciably. In order
to significantly widen the application base, CLAWAR has
focused on new sectors that show good potential for adopting
robotized solutions. In considering these new sectors, the main
driver has been small companies that have been developing
specific robots for small, high-value niche markets. The range
of these applications is extremely wide and covers tasks that are
hazardous or impossible to accomplish manually. Recently, the
trend towards “edutainment” and biomedical/healthcare sys-
tems has been
very encourag-
ing. Considered in
overall terms, these
potential new sectors
lead to an extremely wide
and demanding range of require-
ments that are impossible to satisfy with a single machine.
Hence, the approach has been to produce many simpler robot
solutions, each designed and developed for a specific purpose.
There has been no cross-fertilization in the various sectors, and
this has resulted in considerable duplication and waste of
resources on “reinventing the wheel”-type scenarios. The vast
majority of applications have demanded that the systems
should possess mobility of some form. Climbing has also been
an important capability such that the mobile platforms can
reach desired locations. This strong requirement for mobility is
the primary reason why CLAWAR has focused on climbing
and walking robots in the hope that locomotion in unstruc-
tured and dangerous environments can be fully investigated
and good robust methods realized. Many of the partners have
specific and directly relevant expertise in CLAWAR technolo-
gies, and this has been used to collect and generalize the over-
all knowledge available to make it more widely applicable.
The first CLAWAR project lasted four years. During this
period, it established a vibrant and active R&D partnership
throughout Europe and beyond by its dissemination activi-
ties, culminating in a series of conferences. The project
ended on 31 January 2002, and, due to its success, a follow-
on project was proposed and accepted by the European
Commission (EC) under the GROWTH program (the
Competitive and Sustainable Growth in Framework 5 Pro-
gramme). CLAWAR 2 commenced on 1 May 2002 and is
scheduled to last three years. It comprises 38 funded
1070-9932/05/$20.00©2005 IEEE
IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine JUNE 2005
Developments in the Oldest
Robotics Thematic Network
members and over 30 observers active in the area of mobile
robotics and its applications. Figure 1 shows the main orga-
nizations involved in Europe.
It should be noted that both CLAWAR projects are the-
matic networks (TN) and not “normal” R&D projects that
are set up to research and develop specific solutions. The EC
has funded such TN projects so that much wider ranging
issues can be addressed by bringing together the main stake-
holders for a particular technology to share experiences and
identify the key issues that need to be investigated in order to
move the technology forward. In this respect, both CLAWAR
projects have focused on the need to integrate, encourage, and
widen the adoption of robotic devices in actual applications.
From its start in 1998, CLAWAR has stressed the importance
of modularity and the development of open standards for
robot components so that we can create and sustain a viable
and vibrant robotics industry.
It is clear that the traditional manufacturing robotics
industry is stagnant, and no new innovative technologies are
being adopted in real businesses. The main thrust has been
towards service robotics. This migration from manufacturing
towards services has also been proposed by the International
Federation of Robotics and the Japanese, who are very active
in this field [1], [2]. The basic concepts for reinvigorating the
robotics industry being developed by CLAWAR rely on open
modularity and the development of “plug-and-play”
JUNE 2005 IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine
Figure 1. CLAWAR coverage of Europe.
(O) = Observer
King's College, London
South Bank Univ (O)
University College (O)
Univ Dundee (O)
Kentree (O)
Univ Salford
Univ Leeds
Univ Sheffield (O)
Univ Loughborough (O)
Space AS
LRP, Paris VI
Univ Coimbra
Univ Versailles (O)
Univ Kaiserslautern
Fraunhofer IPA
Univ Murcia (O)
Univ Carlos III
UP Cartagena
Ecole Nantes
BAE Systems
UT Warsaw (O)
Univ Orebro
Acad of
of Science
lasi (O)
Univ Budapest
Univ Cassino (O)
Univ Genova
Poli di Torino
Fed Inst Tech (O)
Android Ventures (O)
Univ Catania
components using a formal design methodology that has
wide applicability [3]–[13]. The intention is that such an
approach can only work if the R&D community works
together with industry to develop and use common tools and
standards at the component level.
A brief summary of the CLAWAR project and the modu-
lar design philosophy is presented next. This work covers
technical and nontechnical issues to widen the application
base for robotic systems and make them more acceptable to
the general public. A description is given of the achievements
made in bringing together all the stakeholders involved in
robotics R&D; the impact that the CLAWAR conferences
have made is also discussed. The importance of CLAWAR in
the creation of innovative mobile robot demonstrator projects
through the networking activities is also highlighted, and a
few of the projects are mentioned. The critical mass of orga-
nizations that have been brought together is leading to future
plans to create an open component-level market that can
support a supply-chain oriented robotics industry. This issue
is also touched upon. Further information can be found on
the project’s Web site at or by con-
tacting the author.
An Overview of CLAWAR
The first CLAWAR project brought together a group of orga-
nizations that were able to focus on generic issues important
in the area of applied mobile robotics. This collective body
was able to carry out technical tasks, perform state-of-the-art
surveys, and disseminate the group’s work very effectively via
the CLAWAR conferences [14]–[18] and newsletters [23].
The technical work was carried out largely by sharing experi-
ences and expertise between the partners so that the individ-
ual-level knowledge could be generalized to make it more
widely relevant. In total, 20 technical tasks were carried out in
this manner over four years.
1) Modularity—Specifications and possible solutions: G.S.
Virk, University of Portsmouth
2) Industrial requirements—Formulate specifications:
R.N. Waterman, Portsmouth Technology Consultants
Limited (PORTECH)
3) Operational environments—Specifications for robots:
K. Berns, Forschungszentrum Informatik (FZI)
4) Nuclear operational maintenance applications: D. Bark-
er, Gravatom
5) Man-machine interface—Requirements and specifica-
tions: M. Armada, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones
Cientificas, Instituto de Automática Industrial (CSIC-
6) Modularity—Design aspects and practical solutions: G.S.
Virk, University of Portsmouth
7) Industrial requirements—Rationalize specs into func-
tionality modules: R.N. Waterman, PORTECH
8) Nuclear decommissioning applications—Requirements:
D. Myers, Gravatom
9) Humanitarian demining—Requirements: Y. Baudoin,
Royal Military Academy (RMA)
10) Tele-operation—Definitions and requirements: M.
Armada, CSIC-IAI
11) Functionality modules—Specifications and technical
details: G.S. Virk, University of Portsmouth
12) Outdoor applications: Y. Baudoin, RMA
13) Computing requirements: G. Muscato, University of
14) Construction industry: M. Armada, CSIC-IAI
15) Pipe and duct applications: D. Myers, Gravatom
16) Functionality modules—Design and practical details:
G.S. Virk, University of Portsmouth
17) Petrochemical industry and underwater applications:
M. Armada, CSIC–IAI
18) Control and software requirements: G. Muscato, Uni-
versity of Catania
19) Barriers to commercial exploitation: H.A. Warren,
20) Future applications of CLAWAR machines: K.
Berns, FZI.
Extensive reports for each task have been produced [3]–[9],
and it is the intention to publish some of these for wider dis-
semination. The state-of-the-art reports [19]–[22] have focused
on the details of the R&D being carried out throughout the
world and the important projects and results achieved. It is
clear that the main areas of activity are in the United States,
Europe, and Japan. CLAWAR has focused on the European
scene, and this networking has created a European-level entity
that can coordinate R&D efforts in the robotics area and make
an impact at the EU level with appropriate initiatives to move
things forward. Good links with EURON are also maintained
to ensure that the strategic vision of the researchers and imme-
diate needs of industry and the community stay synchronized.
CLAWAR Modularity
It is clear from the work thus far that robot component
modularity is a key issue and is widely recognized as such.
Many groups have developed innovative methods for com-
ponent integration, but these individualistic approaches have
not been acceptable to the wider community. Hence, no sig-
nificant progress has been made. It is clear that a coordinated
approach must be taken to ensure that a sensible and widely
acceptable strategy is developed. In this respect, CLAWAR
has a valuable role to play because it can include the views of
all the stakeholders in producing a generic modular design
philosophy. Such an approach has been taken by the
CLAWAR community to subdivide the robot design process
into a modular format where the individual components can
link up to other modules to form the overall system using an
“interaction space highway”-type data bus. This involves
determining how the modules need to link up. After consid-
erable investigation and discussion, it has been established
that six interaction variables are needed for this interconnec-
tivity: 1) power, 2) computer data bus, 3) mechanical link-
ages, 4) analog signals, 5) digital signals, and 6) working
environment. Figure 2 shows the concept more clearly; the
wires show the linkages needed for specific modules.
IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine JUNE 2005
CLAWAR has focused on
strategic areas for developing the
ideas of modularity, including haz-
ardous environments (industrial and
nonindustrial scenarios), edutain-
ment, biomedical and healthcare
sectors, and outdoor applications.
Following the huge success of
CLAWAR 1, it was believed to
be worthwhile to propose the
establishment of CLAWAR 2,
focusing on mobile robotic
demonstrators and applications.
For this, the consortium was
extended and observers were also
included from outside Europe. The project continues the
modularity work to pursue the development of plug-and-
play robot components and encourage the development of
common design tools for use by the robot R&D communi-
ty. Because CLAWAR does not have the resources to actu-
ally develop the design tools needed, it is focusing on
specifying the requirements, and future activities are
planned to actually build the tool set.
R&D Project Clustering
Modularity is also being demonstrated by clustering. R&D
robot projects are being run so that components developed in
one project can be used in others. A list of 25 projects has
been identified and studied to determine the most common
modules in the following groups:
Input modules: These are components that take input
signals/commands from the robot itself, its environ-
ment, and users to use for the “processing” part of the
system. Essentially, these are sensors and user interface
devices from the command input side.
Processing modules: These are software algorithms
that perform the various signal and information pro-
cessing routines that enable the decision-making and
control actions.
Output modules: These are components that actually
produce an output from the robot to interact with its
environment. They comprise actuators and user inter-
face devices to provide user feedback.
Infrastructure modules: These are components that
“support” the overall status and operation of the robot.
They include power supplies, materials, communication
channels, etc.
The grouping of robot modules can be conducted in many
different ways, but the above is felt to be a generic and useful
way of presenting and analyzing the information. Certainly,
the CLAWAR community has found it extremely useful to
study the modular aspects in this way, and this framework is
being used to develop further plans to realize the open stan-
dards needed for the robot components. The R&D project
clustering activities have used this grouping to study the robot
component aspects, focusing on designing a modular power
supply that can be used in several projects. The design of the
power supply has been completed, and it is currently being
built to demonstrate the “use and reuse” aspects that are key
to ensuring the future successful growth in the adoption of
robotic systems in new emerging mass markets.
Societal Needs
As already mentioned and widely recognized, the robotics
industry is likely to grow significantly in the near future, and
this growth is expected to be in the area of service provision
rather than in the traditional manufacturing sectors. Much of
this new activity will be driven by the current and future
needs of society. In view of this, CLAWAR has been carrying
out analysis and formative work for robotic system require-
ments from the viewpoint of the needs of society. Specific
societal needs are being investigated, including education and
training, working conditions and safety, environment, health,
employment, and quality of life.
Economic Prospects
In order to improve the commercialization of robotic systems,
CLAWAR has been using the extensive experience available
within the partnership to determine the reasons for poor
acceptance of the new robotic systems being developed. The
following barriers have been identified:
No effective demonstrators exist, indicating immaturity
of the technology and leading to poor confidence in all
sectors of society.
Low-volume markets lead to high unit costs; this cou-
pled with the fact that no regulations exist for the new
sectors causes significant safety concerns.
These conclusions have led the CLAWAR community to
strongly pursue the development of a suitable modular
approach so that the complex systems needed can be
designed, developed, and supplied. This strongly suggests that
an open component market needs to be encouraged since this
offers the most promising approach for creating and sustaining
a supply-chain based industry. As a consequence, standards
and guidelines for the new robotic systems and their compo-
nents need to be formulated via the establishment of appro-
priate ISO working groups.
JUNE 2005 IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine
Figure 2. CLAWAR’s modular design principles using the “interaction space highways.”
Software Software
As part of the dissemination activities, the annual CLAWAR
conference was initiated in 1998. The first conference was held
in Brussels in 1998 and attracted about 90 delegates. This was
followed by CLAWAR 1999 in Portsmouth with 140 dele-
gates, CLAWAR 2000 in Madrid, Spain, with 150 delegates,
and CLAWAR 2001 in Karlsruhe, Germany, with 200 dele-
gates. The fifth CLAWAR conference in Paris, France, was
attended by 250 delegates and the sixth conference (CLAWAR
2003 conference in Catania, Italy) attracted 250 delegates. The
seventh conference, CLAWAR 2004, was held in Madrid,
Spain, and attracted 200 delegates. The eighth conference will
be held in London on 13–15 September 2005 (visit The CLAWAR conference
is now well established on the annual calendar, and major
researchers attend it to present their latest results and interact
with the rest of the CLAWAR community. In addition to the
annual conference, a Web site has been created
(, and a CLAWAR newsletter is pro-
duced every six months and distributed to nearly 900
researchers throughout the world.
The CLAWAR project has created a good focus for the area
of applied mobile robotics within Europe and beyond. The
partnership has been able to propose many innovative R&D
projects in new robotic applications as a direct result of the
networking and the fact that there is now common thinking
within the partnership. The funding (approximately 2.2
million) received from the EC for establishing the CLAWAR
networking projects has led to the securement of approxi-
mately 30 million for projects to carry out real R&D. A
few of these projects are presented next, and the robots
developed are shown in Figure 3.
ROWER (BRITE EURAM BE2-7229): Development
of shipbuilding methods using robots; Coordinator:
AURORA (GRD1-1999-11153): Robot for cleaning
ship hulls; Coordinator: CSIC-IAI;
ROBOVOLC (IST 1999-10762): Mobile robot able to
carry out monitoring and inspection tasks in volcanic
environments; Coordinator: University of Catania;
ROBTANK (G1RD-CT 2000-00230): Robot for
inspecting metal tanks; Coordinator: ISQ; http://www.
ROBUG 3 (Project ref. FI2T0027): An articulated limb
climbing robot; Coordinator: PORTECH; http://
WIRED (ESPRIT 4): Robug 4-Walking intelligent
robot demonstrator; Coordinator: University of
NESTOR (ISP-1999-00030): Robotic courier for
transporting goods in hospitals; Coordinator:
WorkPartner (National contract Tekes 40372/02): Ser-
vice robot for outdoor tasks; Coordinator: Helsinki
University of Technology; http://www.automation.hut.
ROBOCLIMBER (G1ST-CT-2002-50160): Tele-oper-
ated climbing robot for slopes and landslides;
IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine JUNE 2005
Figure 3. Prototype robots developed within the CLAWAR partnership for various R&D projects: (a) Rower: shipbuilding; (b)
NESTOR: hospitals; (c) Portsmouth’s Robug 4 modular demonstrator; (d) ROBTANK: tanks; (e) Helsinki’s WorkPartner; (f) F-IPAs
RACCOON; (g) ROBOVOLC: volcanoes; and (h) Portsmouth’s Robug 3 rescue machine.
(a) (b) (d)(c)
(e) (f) (h)(g)
Coordinator: ICOP SPA;
RACCOON (Industrial Contract: Procter & Gamble):
Autonomous window cleaning robot; Coordinator:
ISAMCO (FP6-505275-1): Ionic polymer-metal
composites for microsensors and actuators in robotic
applications; Coordinator: Consorzio Catania
In addition to these successes, CLAWAR also participated
in the launch of the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) of
the EC. CLAWAR was the only robotic project invited to
contribute a stand for this event, and Figure 4 shows
RoboDog, developed by one of the CLAWAR partners
(Roboscience Ltd., United Kingdom; see http://www.robo-, stealing the scene.
Future Activities
The overall activities of the CLAWAR projects have created
tremendous enthusiasm and a sense of collegiality within the part-
nership. From this has evolved the feeling that the R&D commu-
nity needs to work together if it is to grow to meet the
requirements for service robotics. The central theme within
CLAWAR is to build on the modularity work to formulate an
open approach capable of assisting in the creation of a new open
component market that can support and sustain a supply chain-
oriented robotics industry in Europe. This initiative is being pur-
sued under the EC’s FP6, and over
120 organizations have agreed to
work towards realizing this goal. The
intention is to create the tools and
guidelines and demonstrate a supply
chain culture for the area of robotics
so that specific supply chains can be
set up, as shown in Figure 5.
It is clear that networking is vital to
ensure that research groups and
companies can work together on
common problems to make the
advances that are required. Without
such networking, it is inevitable
that resources will be wasted
through the duplication of effort.
CLAWAR is now a mature robot-
ics R&D community that has
already proven itself capable of col-
laborating and moving things for-
ward. A common approach is vital
if robotic technologies are to be
produced to meet the needs that
are emerging for providing services.
JUNE 2005 IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine
Figure 4. RoboDog in Brussels.
Figure 5. CLAWAR’s supply chain concept.
Automated and Robotic Products
CS - Component Supplier (Company/University)
- Interoperative Requirement/Supply Link
Strategic Partners
In this respect, it is also vital that all the stakeholders are
involved in these collaborations, from the pioneering “blue
skies” researchers to application manufacturers and commercial
organizations interested in developing products for specific mar-
ket sectors. CLAWAR is doing exactly this, and this approach is
the main reason for the great successes achieved to date. The
intention is to increase these collaborations through future
activities under FP6 and beyond, where the critical mass is
being brought together to make the changes necessary to ensure
progress. CLAWAR Ltd. has been set up to continue the activi-
ties after the current CLAWAR project ends in October 2005.
Only time will tell if the efforts succeed, but the feeling within
the CLAWAR community is that open modularity is the only
viable way forward whereby the “interconnection” between the
components are widely available to everyone and the “inventive
intellectual property” should be within the components.
Indeed, to make all this work we need to make the wires
open and the boxes closed.
The author would like to acknowledge the support of the
European Commission for funding the CLAWAR Thematic
Network under contracts BRRT-CT97-5030 and G1RT-CT-
2002-05080. He would also like to express his gratitude to all
the CLAWAR partners and observers who have contributed
to the various activities of the project.
Robot components, modularity, new robot markets, service
robots, standards.
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Year 2, EC Contract GIRT-CT-2002-05080, 2004.
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Gurvinder Singh Virk holds the chair of Robotics and Con-
trol and is head of the Intelligent Systems Group in the School
of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, United King-
dom. He graduated with first class B.Sc. honors in electronic
and electrical engineering from the University of Manchester
and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in control theory from Imperial
College, London. Since then, he has worked at Sheffield City
Polytechnic and Southampton, Sheffield, Bradford, and
Portsmouth universities. His main research interests include
mobile robotics, with special emphasis on climbing and walking
robots (CLAWAR) and smelling robots, building management
systems, and the use of advanced model-based control for a
variety of applications. Currently, he is coordinating the Euro-
pean activity for the CLAWAR technology and has been
involved in several projects to develop innovative robots for
exploring volcanic environments, inspecting highway bridges
and dams, and performing search and rescue operations in
nuclear disaster scenarios. He is a fellow of the Institution of
Electrical Engineers (FIEE), a fellow of the Chartered Institu-
tion of Building Services Engineers (FCIBSE), and a fellow of
the Institution of Applied Mathematics and its Applications. He
has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his
work in promoting information technology.
Address for Correspondence: Gurvinder Singh Virk, School of
Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane,
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT, UK. Phone: +44 113 343
2156. Fax: +44 113 343 2150. E-mail: g.s.virk@leeds.
IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine JUNE 2005
... Since the first climbing robot was developed in the 1980s, the last decades have seen an increasing interest in developing and employing climbing mobile robots for different applications. Many research projects on climbing robots have implemented in U.S.A., Japan, Europe, Australia and China, such as CLAWAR in Europe [3] which issued many impressive achievements to enhance the mobility and working capability of mobile climbing robots. ...
... Then the negative pressure P2 is generated due to the increasing the inside volume. The process can be described as (3), and (4) since the temperature is always unchangeable during the whole process. Where x is the change the sucker's height. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a novel passive adhesion principle which is used firstly for an inspired modular climbing caterpillar project. After a related survey on the natural creatures which can climb on the vertical surface with different materials, a systematical summarizing on four attachment methods adopted by climbing robots worldwide is given. Then a low-frequency vibrating passive attachment principle is presented in order to keep the merits and eliminate the shortcomings of using the normal active vacuum suckers. The adhesion principle, related mathematic model and rational testing are presented step by step. The new passive suckers based on this principle are used on an inspired modular climbing robot, which is currently under development in our consortium. On-site testing shows application of our passive suction method can free climbing robots from the heavy vacuum ejectors and realize an effective simple adsorption, furthermore improve the inspired technological level and flexibility of the locomotion capability.
... An important step toward the dissemination of knowledge of climbing robots has been established in 1998 through the formation of the CLAWAR network, initially funded by the European Commission and then in 2005 converted to an association [7]. The network, through meetings, newsletters and the organisation of the yearly CLAWAR conference, represents a central point for the dissemination of research activities on climbing robots [8] [9]. In particular the proceedings of the CLAWAR conferences are the main source of reference for the last developments in climbing robots. ...
Conference Paper
Climbing robots are now widely accepted as valid options in situations where it is important to move on sloped or vertical structures in order to inspect, paint, clean or perform the required operations. Even if the first applications of climbing robots appeared more than 40 years ago, many new ideas are continuously being proposed in the scientific literature and in the market. In this work a classification of the different adhesion techniques proposed for climbing robots is proposed and discussed. Adhesion methodologies can be classified as active when they require an external energy supply to support the robot, or passive if no energy is needed (e.g. permanent magnets or suction cups). Another classification can be done on the basis of the nature of the forces required to support the robot: pneumatic, if the adhesion force is generated by a pressure difference; magnetic if the force is magnetic; mechanical if it depends only on mechanical supports, chemical if it is due to some particular glue, or electrostatic. Moreover within each of these categories, different kind of robots have been proposed in the last years, also on the basis of the locomotion architectures: walking with legs, frame walking, with wheels, sliding, jumping, etc. Recently biologically-inspired gripping methods, trying in many cases to imitate gecko skin, appeared in several research works. However some doubts remain concerning the applicability of such systems in real applications. Some critical considerations on the different techniques and on their practical advantages and drawbacks will be exposed and an overview of the different climbing robots developed in the last 12 years at University of Catania is also presented.
... They are a special potential sub-group of mobile technology. In the recent 15 years, there have been considerable achievements in climbing robot research worldwide by exploring potential applications in hazardous and unmanned environments (Virk, 2005). The typical application of climbing robots includes reliable non-destructive evaluation and diagnosis in the nuclear industry, the chemical industry and the power generation industry (Longo, et al., 2004), welding and manipulation in the construction industry (Armada, et al., 1998), cleaning and maintenance for high-rise buildings in the service industry (Elkmann, et al., 2002) and urban search and rescue in military and civil applications (Wu, et al., 2006). ...
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This paper presents a novel, bio-inspired, small climbing caterpillar robot. The discussion is focused on the inchworm configuration since it is the simplest and basic structure compared
... Robotic platforms can be used in countless applications and in the most varied branches of activities. Such results, presented over the last two decades, can be verified in Armada et al., 2003 and Virk, 2005. It deals specifically with robots provided with legs and with the capability, or ability, to climb vertical surfaces, while many other applications/solutions can be found. ...
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This work presented the Kamanbar? robot, which is a four-legged bionspired platform with the main purpose of climbing trees, for environmental research applications. The mechanical and electronics structure, and the software architecture, were presented as well a Simulink mechanical model and simulations results. Based on its special design, this platform offers the possibility of investigating reptile-like walking and climbing. As a control approach, just a gait generator based on the chameleon mode of movement was presented, but it was demonstrated that is sufficient to obtain results on legs movement interference and realistic torque estimates.
... Limbed robots are capable of walking and climbing and have been developed around the world. (Armada et al., 2003;Virk, 2005). Some of them have been used to inspect bridges (Abderrahim et al., 1999) and pipelines (Galves;Pfeiffer, 2001). ...
Conference Paper
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As a consequence of physical constraints and of dynamical nonlinearities, optimal control problems involving mobile robots are generally difficult ones. Many algorithms have been developed to solve such problems, the more common being related to trajectory planning, minimum-time control or any specific performance index. Nevertheless optimal control problems associated to mobile robots have not been reported. Minimum energy problems subject to both equality and inequality constraints are generally intricate ones to be solved using classical methods. In this paper we present an algorithm to solve it using a Quadratic Programming approach. In order to illustrate the application of the algorithm, one practical problem was solved.
... Robotic platforms can be used in countless applications and in the most varied branches of activities. Such results, presented over the last two decades, can be verified in (Armada et al., 2003) and (Virk, 2005). ...
Conference Paper
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Environmental research is an area where robotics platforms can be applied as solutions for different problems to help or automate certain tasks, with the purpose of being more efficient or also safer for the researchers involved. This paper presents the Kamanbare platform. Kamanbar6 is a bioinspired robotic platform, whose main goal is to climb trees for environmental research applications, applied in tasks such as gathering botanical specimen, insects, climatic and arboreal fauna studies, among others. Kamanbare is a platform that provides flexibility both in hardware and software, so that new applications may be developed and integrated without the need of extensive knowledge in robotics.
This chapter presents a comprehensive survey of the adhesion mechanisms and locomotion techniques used in climbing robots. It highlights some representative climbing robots with most successful implementation of climbing robot technologies. Some innovative ideas and emerging technologies for climbing robots are also introduced. The chapter classifies the adhesion mechanism into six categories and summarizes their advantages and limitations. The future research and development directions of climbing robots will mainly focus on the improvement of adhesion reliability and locomotion maneuverability, and the transformation of these innovative technologies into real-world applications. For any climbing robot to be used as a commercial product, reliability is the most critical and determining factor for commercial success. No matter what adhesion mechanism is used, it must be able to supply the necessary attraction force for the robot to operate on targeted wall surfaces reliably at all times. © 2015 The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved.
This paper presents an overview of an ongoing project on a bio-inspired climbing caterpillar robot. First, an investigation on locomotion kinematics adopted by climbing robots is presented. After that, a related survey on the natural creatures which can climb on vertical surfaces in different materials is given. The special attention is emphasised on the natural caterpillars' locomotion mechanism. In this project, we combine climbing techniques with a modular approach to realise a novel prototype as a flexible wall climbing robotic platform featuring an easy-to-build mechanical structure, a low-frequency vibrating passive attachment principle and various locomotion capabilities. The research objects, system design and current achievements are presented step by step. In the end, a conclusion is given and the future work is outlined.
Conference Paper
The paper presents the latest work on modularity carried out by the EC funded CLAWAR project partners during the second year of the project. This work has focused on specifying the design tools needed to support the overall open modular concepts being proposed to encourage the creation of a component based research and development community for robotics.
Outlines the main highlights of the JARA (Japan Robotic Industry Association) report A Survey of Technological Strategy for Creating Robotic Society for the 21st Century. This survey was sponsored by the Japanese government's METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This bulky report (298 pages) may constitute a national guideline of Japanese research and development for the future in light of the future “Robotic Society”.
Uncertainty about the future does not justify delaying action. It's time to redefine work roles and competencies needed to deliver quality care.
Technology strategy for creating a " robot soci-ety " in the 21st century
  • Japan Association
Japan Robot Association, Technology strategy for creating a " robot soci-ety " in the 21st century, [Online]. Available: 06_topics/index.html
CLAWAR state of the art 1998-99
  • G S Virk
G.S. Virk, "CLAWAR state of the art 1998-99," Univ. Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK, EC Contract BRRT-CT97-5030, 1999.
University of Portsmouth 2) Industrial requirements—Formulate specifications
  • Modularity—specifications
  • G S Possible
  • Virk
Modularity—Specifications and possible solutions: G.S. Virk, University of Portsmouth 2) Industrial requirements—Formulate specifications: R.N. Waterman, Portsmouth Technology Consultants Limited (PORTECH)
clawar modularity for clawar&#821functionality modules
  • virk
G.S. Virk, "CLAWAR modularity for CLAWAR-Functionality modules," in Proc. 4th Int. Conf. Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR 2001), Karlsruhe, Germany, pp. 275-282.
modularity of clawar machines-practical solutions
  • virk
G.S. Virk, "Modularity for CLAWAR machines-Practical solutions," Univ. Portsmouth, UK, Task 6 Rep. EC Contract BRRT-CT97-5030, 2000.
clawar modularity: the guiding principles
  • virk
G.S. Virk, "CLAWAR modularity: The guiding principles," in Proc. 6th Int. Conf. Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR 2003), Catania, Italy, pp. 1025-1031.
CLAWAR functionality modules&mdash,Specifications and technical details
  • G S Virk