Robotic Simulations, Simulations of Robots

Minds and Machines 29 (1):109-125 (2019)
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Simulation studies have been carried out in robotics for a variety of epistemic and practical purposes. Here it is argued that two broad classes of simulation studies can be identified in robotics research. The first one is exemplified by the use of robotic systems to acquire knowledge on living systems in so-called biorobotics, while the second class of studies is more distinctively connected to cases in which artificial systems are used to acquire knowledge about the behaviour of autonomous mobile robots. The two classes pertain to sub-areas of robotics which are apparently quite distant from one another in terms of goals, methodologies, technologies, and theoretical backgrounds. Still both are concerned with building, running, and experimenting on simulations of other systems. This paper aims to reveal and discuss some methodological commonalities between the two classes of studies. Philosophical literature on simulation methodologies has been traditionally focused on studies carried out in research fields other than robotics: this article may therefore contribute to shedding light on how the concept of simulation is used in robotics, and on the role simulation methodologies play in this research field.



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