An Autonomous Robot is a robot that performs behaviors or tasks with a high degree of autonomy.Autonomous robotics is usually considered to be a subfield of artificial intelligence, robotics, and information engineering. The first requirement for complete physical autonomy is the ability of a robot to take care of itself. Many of the battery-powered robots on the market today can find and connect to a charging station, and some toys like Sony's ‘Aibo' are capable of self-docking to charge their batteries.
The important area of robotics research is to enable the robot to cope with its environment whether this is on land, underwater, in the air, underground, or in space. Exteroception is sensing things about the environment. Autonomous robots must have a range of environmental sensors to perform their task and stay out of trouble.
*Common exteroceptive sensors including all objects of the electromagnetic spectrum such as touch, chemical (smell), temperature, range to various objects.
Some robotic lawn mowers will adapt their programming by detecting the speed in which grass grows as needed to maintain a perfectly cut lawn, and some vacuum cleaning robots have dirt detectors that sense how much dirt is being picked up and use this information to tell them to stay in one area longer.
A vacuum cleaning robot
At first, autonomous navigation was based on planar sensors, such as laser range-finders, that can only sense at one level. The most advanced systems now fuse information from various sensors for both localization (position) and navigation. Systems such as motility; can rely on different sensors in different areas, depending upon which provides the most reliable data at the time, and can re-map a building autonomously.