The Role of Physics-Based Simulators in Robotics
Physics-based simulation provides an accelerated and safe avenue for developing, verifying, and testing robotic control algorithms and prototype designs. In the quest to leverage machine learning for developing AI-enabled robots, physics-based simulation can generate a wealth of labeled training data in a short amount of time. Physics-based simulation also creates an ideal proving ground for developing intelligent robots that can both learn from their mistakes and be verifiable. This article provides an overview of the use of simulation in robotics, emphasizing how robots (with sensing and actuation components), the environment they operate in, and the humans they interact with are simulated in practice. It concludes with an overview of existing tools for simulation in robotics and a short discussion of aspects that limit the role that simulation plays today in intelligent robot design.