The computer era of the 1980’s has produced the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, the research towards autonomous intelligent systems: Human-less factories and Autonomous, Intelligent Robots have been projected as potential realities for the mid 90’s.
However, the initial effort underestimated the goals set:. By the end of the 80’s, the autonomous intelligent system concept faded away. The huge problems arising from real world interpretation, requiring massive self-contained real-world expertise, postponed the autonomous system dream for yet some more time.
During the last few years, the availability of new software and hardware products, the drop of cost of high bandwidth communications as well as the dramatic drop of cost of processing power put together the basic enabling technologies to support the development of Advanced Robotics concepts with good quality / price ratios.
The area of Robotics slowly matures towards a dedicated, highly specialised field of technology, that early visionaries have named “Robotics Science” (Michael Brady, 1987). Gradually, the appearance of the “T-model” Robot that is bound to revolutionise the sector, becomes a round the corner possibility. The sectors of risky surveillance, intervention, remediation as well as demining, certainly represent a serious candidate for autonomous, out-door robotics. They have been long recognised for their high market potentials for such systems once these machines would be able to do the job correctly and at affordable prices. HTR is expecting the “T-Model” to appear in one of these sectors.
HTR has been founded on 1998, at a moment when the founding members believed that it was time to apply the advanced robot technology in the context of the “telepresence” approach for the future autonomous systems. Such solution by-passes the lack of “fully operational” AI through the use of gradually higher level of remote supervision. On the other hand, it is a fact that out-door machines need mobility and dexterity matching those of living creatures : HTR considered that “intelligence could emerge from higher mobility” (*) and invested towards technologies permitting the higher agility of these robot platforms, using artificial legs.