Art + Science + Technology
Professor Victoria Vesna
Autonomous Transporter: The
way of the Future
The autonomous transporter, which is a completely
computer-programed robot, can replace human resources to
operate more efficiently in simple industrial tasks. Through
the application of both mechanical and electrical
engineering, autonomous transporters can precisely
transport one object to an assigned location and complete
easy assembly jobs in production line. The initial intent of
this proposed design is to demonstrate how autonomous
transporter can be made and used. However, the ultimate
objective of the proposal is to express the way of the future
and show people that robotics is becoming more and more
CONCEPT / TOPIC
I came up with the idea about massively manufacturing
autonomous transporters to replace human resources in doing simple
industrial tasks from my mechanical engineering senior capstone
design, which requires us to make a small autonomous transporter to
perform a delivery task of four 6-lbs lead disks. Inspired by the
success from that project, I start to have strong belief that large scale
of autonomous transporters can also be achieved and will be widely
accepted in industrial areas. The use of autonomous robots will save
human resources for other more sophisticated work. In addition to
that, computer-programed robots will be more efficient and cheaper
than humans in operating simple tasks.
CONTEXT & PRECEDENTS
Fully autonomous robots started appear in second half of 20th
century, and had developed for only 40 years. The first digitally
operated and programmable robot, the Unimate, was installed in
1961 to lift hot metal pieces from die casting machines. After that,
robots became widely used in manufacturing, assembly, packing,
transport, surgery, laboratory research, and mass production of
industrial and consumer goods.
Project Proposal (cont.)
The ultimate version of autonomous transporter’s operating principle will
be exactly the same as the preliminary design, which I designed for my
mechanical engineering class. In the preliminary design, the transporter’s
navigation system is controlled by three ultrasonic sensors, two on the
sides and one on the front. The ultrasonic sensors can radiate a sound
wave and time based on the reflected wave to detect obstacles in the front
and along the sides. Then, if there is any obstacle, the program of the
transporter will respond to that by making turns or backing up.
Project Proposal (cont.)
The picture on the left is the
motor driver chip used for the
cruise control of transporter. It is
like the CPU of a computer.
Based on the reflected signal
from sensor, the motor driver will
differentiate the speed of left and
right wheels to make right or left
Due to the complexity of industrial jobs, the ultimate version of
autonomous transporter will have more sensors assembled with a more
precise cruise control chip to increase the accuracy and improve its
The invention of autonomous transporters and its wide use is expected to
happen within a short time in the future because this proposed design is
relatively simple and quite achievable with the modern technology. However,
the significance of wide spread of the future robotics technology is
considerable. By the time which all industries’ production lines start to utilize
the autonomous robots to operate simple jobs, human beings will begin to
have the third scientific revolution, which robots will gradually take over
easy jobs from human resources such as cleaning streets, package delivery,
etc and serve better for our society.
1. Japanʼs early robot and robotic industry, visited 11/2/2013"
2. Technology displacing Human workers"
3. UCLA Mechanical Engineering 162E Capstone Project 2013, Group 16, 11/2/2013"
4. Lawrence J. Kamm. “Understanding Electro-Mechanical Engineering: An Introduction to
5. "Robotic fish powered by Gumstix PC and PIC". Human Centred Robotics Group at Essex
Bibliography / Links
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bond graph approach.
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16.IEEE Spectrum, http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics visited 11/2/2013
17. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Robotics, visited 11/2/2013
18. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007151835.htm visited 11/2/2013
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a mechanical-looking robot with different robot voice styles. In:
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