Robotics/Types of Robots

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In general, robots are classified based on their capabilities. Some standard classifications of robots include their domain of operation, degree of autonomy, and the goal they are designed to fulfill.

Domain of Operation[edit]

Robots can be designed and built for any environment imaginable. One popular way of classifying robots is by what environments they're designed to operate in. Some typical examples include:

Stationary
These robots are fixed in one place and cannot move. This category includes robotic arms, computerized machine tools, and most other Industrial Robots.
Industrial Robots are robots used in mass production e.g. welding robots, CNC plate cutters or CNC drills. The large majority of these robots are stationary and tethered to a computer.
Ground
These robots are designed to operate on the surface of the earth or other planet, and are usually sub categorized by their drive train:
Underwater
Also known as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, these are designed to operate underwater, possibly at great depth.
Aerial
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are various kinds of robotic flying machines, including planes and helicopters.
Microgravity
Robots that have been designed to operate in low-gravity environments, such as earth orbit.
other specific Hazardous Environments

Degree of Autonomy[edit]

Autonomy is the quality of being self-controlled. One measure of autonomy is the amount of human control that is required for the robot's operation. An autonomous robot can operate properly without intervention indefinitely and can deal with unexpected problems gracefully. Teleoperated robots constantly require humans to send the robot control signals. These are only the endpoints; there is a continuum of possibilities between them.

A robot can also be classified by how self-contained it is. Power, logic circuitry, and other things may be located either on the main chassis or connected via a cable tether or wireless link from another location.

Goal[edit]

Robots are also routinely categorized by the goals they are designed to achieve. These include contests, personal enrichment, manufacturing, and entertainment.