An autonomous machine requires a description of its designated task in a language that it ‘understands’. The machine language of robots — physical mechanisms endowed with actuators and sensory devices for the purpose of performing work — is the language of dynamical systems. Since the diversity of robotic tasks is immense and our practical experience with computationally well endowed sensed and actuated mechanisms is still very slight, there seems little possibility of imposing at present a meaningful uniformity of description and command methodology on the practice of building these machines. However, a number of thematic desiderata can be articulated whose pursuit will arguably increase the ease of designing robotic algorithms that are predictably successful. This paper presents a summary of our approach to a number of robotic tasks that brings out by example the nature and utility of these desiderata.
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