Special Reviews

Robotics in Remote and Hostile Environments

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Science  16 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5853, pp. 1098-1102
DOI: 10.1126/science.1146230

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In our continuing quest for knowledge, robots are powerful tools for accessing environments too dangerous or too remote for human exploration. Early systems functioned under close human supervision, effectively limited to executing preprogrammed tasks. However, as exploration moves to regions where communication is ineffective or unviable, robots will need to carry out complex tasks without human supervision. To enable such capabilities, robots are being enhanced by advances ranging from new sensor development to automated mission planning software, distributed robotic control, and more efficient power systems. As robotics technology becomes simultaneously more capable and economically viable, individual robots operated at large expense by teams of experts are increasingly supplemented by teams of robots used cooperatively under minimal human supervision.

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