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Autonomous robots for harsh environments : a holistic overview of current solutions and ongoing challenges

Wong, Cuebong and Yang, Erfu and Yan, Xiu-Tian and Gu, Dongbing (2018) Autonomous robots for harsh environments : a holistic overview of current solutions and ongoing challenges. Systems Science and Control Engineering, 6 (1). pp. 213-219. ISSN 2164-2583

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    This paper presents a holistic overview of robotics and autonomous systems developed for applications in harsh environments where interactions with robots are difficult to model due to reasons such as dynamics, uncertainty, complexity and unpredictability. Robots of different characteristics and designs are required to perform different tasks within these environments. A number of classes of robots emerge as particularly favoured by the research community for solving challenging problems in difficult environments. Key examples of these deployments are studied with an analysis on how high-level autonomy is a key issue that must be addressed. The surveyed work suggests that the lack of observable autonomy in many systems is a consequence of both the complexity of the problem and the lack of proven reliability of autonomous solutions for applications that demand high success rates. This paper provides a broad and general overview of autonomous robots deployed in harsh environments and the commonalities of the challenges and existing solutions across application areas, including oil and gas inspection, space exploration, deep-sea operations and search and rescue.