Much of the discussion on robot and AI ethics seems to share images and representation of robots and autonomous machine, which derive from literatures including SCI FI novels. This article aims to reveal the implication and hidden ethical problems in the concept of robots in literatures by reviewing the etymological origin of terms concerning robots, namely, mechanism, android, and automaton. The usage of the last and its role in Greek myth shows that robots as character in dramas unavoidably have tragic role to make human-being misfortune. This can mean that robots in literatures, and the ethical discussion based on representation of robots appearing in literatures, have ethical problems in nature. Therefore, if we want to establish practical and realistic ethics of robotics, we need to intentionally ignore the representation of robots in literatures, and the rules of robots such as the three laws of robotics in Asimov's novels.
We have developed a service robot that supports daily life of humans by traveling in human living spaces. This paper aimed to develop a mechanism that permits safe and smooth traveling of a robot by changing the traveling performance according to the environment. A traveling robot was proposed, which has a parallel form based on inverted pendulum and a series one like a bike and is able to switch from one form to another. Three intermediate forms between the parallel and series as well as their dynamics and control laws were described. The transformation sequence consists of a parallel form, three intermediate forms and a series form, and the planned control inputs to change the form while traveling were also detailed. A control system that switches three control laws for each parallel, series and mixed forms according to the robot form was constructed. The transformation from the parallel to the series form, when the robot opens its legs, as well as the transformation from the series to the parallel form, when the robot closes its legs, were verified in the experiments.
In the construction industry of Japan, the number of labors, particularly experienced labors, is decreasing by decreasing birthrate and aging population. In addition, the number of death in the construction industry is one-third of the number in all industries. To resolve the above problems, autonomous construction system has been researched by various companies and research institutes. In this research, we aim at the realization of autonomous surface compression work by vibration roller with environment-installed sensors. Our approach is to install plural LiDARs (Light Detection and Ranging) in the work field and estimate the position of vibration roller. In this paper, we propose a position estimation method based on the environment-installed LiDARs, path planning for a vibration roller, and path tracking control of it. Furthermore, we conducted indoor experiments to confirm the proposed system using the original 1/10 vibration roller model and outdoor experiments to confirm the accuracy of position estimation method in real-time using an actual vibration roller.