About this text

Robotics is an engineering discipline stemming from the fusion of science and art. One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of robotics is how many different fields it touches. At some institutions, for example Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), it is now a undergraduate degree program. Many courses can be taught within the field to cover the different aspects just like what we do with Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. So any attempt at a survey course is challenging. This book is not a really a great survey of the field. For such a large field, a survey would be a long list of titles, authors, researchers and so on. There would be no room to “get down into the weeds”. We want the student (reader) to also get in the detail and acquire real skills. To do that, we must focus. So, the book is oriented around mobile robots. You will see that our coverage of manipulators is very thin. Fortunately, there are fabulous texts on manipulators available.

Our goal is to get the reader to the point where they can build a simple mobile robot which can interact with the environment. This requires covering basics of sensing, computation and motion. Our target will be the creation of autonomous vehicles.

There are many issues to resolve with this book. Many small ones and some large ones. The obvious problems relate to content, coverage, background and other academic concerns. Smaller ones relate to formatting, specific examples and images.

Conversion Issues

The original text was written in LaTeX. We have converted over to restructuredText using a fabulous tool called Pandoc. Pandoc is good, but not perfect. We had a very complicated latex document which Pandoc was not able to completely convert. Although we have spent many hours with the conversion, there are aspects we have missed. The labels and references were a particular problem and many are still broken. Let us know about format problems (broken links, etc).

Document Content

This is a living document. There are many sections of the original notes that need to be converted over to to rst AND there are many sections that need to be written. Robotics is a active field with new technology daily. New stuff needs to be written and some old tools need to be updated. We hope to get a bunch of this done by 9/1/18.

Robotics Education Community

Our goal is to build an open source robotics education community. If you want to help edit, add sections, add homework problems, rework sections, etc, please contact us. If you have comments or concerns, again please contact us.