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Traction is a description of how well a robot's control surface maintains contact with the environment it wishes to interact with. Higher traction material such as rubber are generally selected for gripping and wheeled surfaces, whereas low traction materials (like plastic) might be chosen to reduce friction. Although traction is not a terribly important topic to be aware of in the field of robotics, traction can play an important role when understanding where your robot is, and how it has affected the environment. For example, if you are keeping track of where a Roomba has traveled based on wheel position movements alone, your measurements might not match up with your predictions. As the wheels of the roomba turn over carpet, hardwood floor, or tile - you will get different traction coefficients - which can easily throw off any predictions that you might make off of wheel movement.

This example can apply to almost any robotic system and it is important to keep in mind possible positional errors and ways to solve them.

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