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The Quest for Artificial Intelligence by Nils J. Nilsson

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12

Mobile Robots

T HE HAND–EYE SYSTEMS DESCRIBED EARLIER MIGHT BE THOUGHT OF AS “ROBOTS,” but they could not move about from their fixed base. Up to this time, very little work had been done on mobile robots even though they figured prominently in science fiction. I have already mentioned Grey Walter’s “tortoises,” which were early versions of autonomous mobile robots. In the early 1960s researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built a mobile robot they called “The Beast.” (See Fig. 12.1.) Controlled by on-board electronics and guided by sonar sensors, photocells, and a “wallplate-feeling” arm, it could wander the white-walled corridors looking for dark-colored power plugs. Upon finding one, and if its batteries ...

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