6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
timely survey of moving robots,
This review is from: Autonomous Robots: From Biological Inspiration to Implementation and Control (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents series) (Hardcover)
MIT is one of the key centres of robotics and it is no surprise that this text hails from it. Bekey provides a timely survey (circa 2005) of the state of autonomous robotics. He mentions some robots which have become commercially available recently, like Sony's Aibo, or the Roomba, Asimo or Cog. While simple and cheap, these robots involve key issues of mobility, sensors and decision making.
There are several types of land locomotion. Bekey gives a summary of various efforts since the 70s, to use 4, 6 or 8 legs in a robot.
Aside from locomotion, the book covers many other topics. Such as arm motion and manipulation. This even includes the "exotic" use of neural networks to do inverse kinematics mappings. Though Bekey cautions that the slow convergence of these networks is a serious drawback to realtime usage.
The book should be very readable to someone with a general background in science or engineering. It defers specialised technical details to the papers and texts given in its references.