The word “robot” was introduced by the Czech play right Karel Capek in his 1920 play Rossum’s Universal Robots. The word “robota” in Czech means simply “work.” In spite of such practical beginnings, science fiction writers and early Hollywood movies have given us a romantic notion of robots. Thus, in the 1960 robots held out great promises for miraculously revolutionizing industry overnight. In fact, many of the more far-fetched expectations from robots have failed to materialize. For instance, in underwater assembly and oil mining, tele-operated robots are very difficult to manipulate and have largely been replaced or augmented by “smart” quick-fit couplings that simplify the assembly task. However, through good design practices and painstaking attention to detail, engineers have succeeded in applying robotic systems to a wide variety of industrial and manufacturing situations where the environment is structured or predictable. Today, through developments in computers and artificial intelligence techniques and often motivated by the space program, we are on the verge of another breakthrough in robotics that will afford some levels of autonomy in unstructured environments.