Today’s mobile robot perception is insufficient for acting goal-directedly in unconstrained, dynamic everyday environments like a home, a factory, or a city. Subject to restrictions in bandwidth, computer power, and computation time, a robot has to react to a wealth of dynamically changing stimuli in such environments, requiring rapid, selective attention to decisive, action-relevant information of high current utility. Robust and general engineering methods for effectively and efficiently coupling perception, action and reasoning are unavailable. Interesting performance, if any, is currently only achieved by sophisticated robot programming exploiting domain features and specialties, which leaves ordinary users no chance of changing how the robot acts.
The purpose of this volume - outcome of a GI-Dagstuhl Seminar held in Dagstuhl Castle in June 2006 - is to give a first overview on the concept of affordances for the design and implementation of autonomous mobile robots acting goal-directedly in a dynamic environment. The aim is to develop affordance-based control as a method for robotics. The potential of this new methodology will be shown by going beyond navigation-like tasks towards goaldirected autonomous manipulation in the project demonstrators.