The Energy Crisis in Robotics
In mobile robot and autonomous vehicle research the machines' energy requirements have received insufficient attention. We want simultaneously smaller machines and larger operating ranges. Yet fundamental scaling relations inform us that to travel larger distances we need larger vehicles to carry the fuel that is required to provide the power to overcome friction. In this talk and discussion I will outline the issues, both basic scientific limitations, and engineering problems that can be solved with increased effort, and suggest some ways we might rescue ourselves from these difficulties. These include energy foraging, intelligent utilization of transient energy sources, clever devices like self-powered sensors and power-providing sensors, and perhaps others.