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Human-Robot Cooperation

HRoCLogoHellDurchThe project H-RoC is aimed at the development of innovative solutions for human-robot cooperation scenarios. In the following, outdoor construction sites are used as an example scenario. The robot has to act autonomously, observe the environment and react to obstacles. An important precondition for the acceptance of mobile robots is their ability of meaningful interaction with humans working at the construction site.

Mining RoX

logo-miningroxAutonomous mobile robots have been making impressive inroads into a variety of domains such as households (vacuum cleaning and lawn mowing robots), streets (autonomous cars), the deep sea (autonomous underwater vehicles), air space (unmanned drones), and even outer space (e.g. Mars rover). In the project “Mining-RoX” we explore a further frontier for autonomous robots: underground mines.

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T-RoX

The Saxonian project improves the teaching material for robotics. It develops a common, open platform for software engineering on service robots. Saxon universities should be able to exchange software for standard robots that can be used in teaching, and to develop software in a simple way for teaching using standardized frameworks.

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Human-Robot Cooperation

Promising approaches of human-robot cooperation already exist in terms of stationary robots (for example robot “Baxter”, www.rethinkrobotics.com). Substantially more difficult and unresolved research issues are raised in the cooperation among people and intelligent mobile robots. The state of the art of mobile robotics are driverless transportation systems. Those systems determine their movements by means of fixed trails and carry out transport operations. However, research on more flexible cooperation among people and mobile robots in unstructured environments is still in its infancy and lacks well-performing systems. The project H-RoC is aimed at the development of innovative solutions for human-robot cooperation scenarios.In the following, outdoor construction sites are used as an example scenario. Flexible and intelligent mobile robots will be assigned a wide variety of tasks (e.g. transportation, assisting humans, excavate and drill operations). The robot has to act autonomously, observe the environment and react to obstacles. Transportation trails often change over time, because of evolving buildings. Therefore, adaptable navigation ability is required. An important precondition for the acceptance of mobile robots is their ability of meaningful interaction with humans working at the construction site.

Mining RoX

Autonomous mobile robots have been making impressive inroads into a variety of domains such as households (vacuum cleaning and lawn mowing robots), streets (autonomous cars), the deep sea (autonomous underwater vehicles), air space (unmanned drones), and even outer space (e.g. Mars rover). In the project “Mining-RoX” we explore a further frontier for autonomous robots: underground mines. Reasons for robots going underground are plenty. Heat and humidity make underground mines a strenuous work environment for humans, especially as future mines will become increasingly deeper and, thus, hotter. In such environments, robots can also help to reduce mining costs, as expensive ventilation is unnecessary when no humans are present. Another concern is safety. In disaster cases, rescue robots could help finding missing personell. Unmanned mines operated by robots would not endanger human lives at all.

Starting in fall 2014, a first focus of the project are information gathering robots. The goal is the creation of mobile robot technology to facilitate the autonomous exploration of underground mines while providing detailed 3D scans and monitoring environmental conditions, such as air and water quality. The TU Bergakademie Freiberg is the world’s oldest university of mining. As Europe’s only university operating a research and teaching mine, it is a unique location for pioneering research on autonomous robots in underground mining. “MiningRoX” is part of the research initiative “Robots in saXony” (RoX), a cooperation of several Saxon universities and universities of applied science. It is supported by the SMWK, Saxony’s Ministry for Sciences and Arts.

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T-RoX

The project Teaching Software Engineering for Service Robots in Saxony (T-RoX), develops a common, open training platform for software engineering on servicerobots within the framework of the RoX initiative. Saxon universities should be able to exchange software for standard robots that can be used in teaching, and to develop software in a simple way for teaching using standardized frameworks. Furthermore, „standardized“ project internships will be set up for students who are involved in the RoX initiative at the participating universities in order to demonstrate the benefits of service robotics in various fields of application.

In recent years, some hardware platforms have been developed for service robots, which are also very interesting for higher education:

Lego Mindstorms
TurtleBot
NAO
Metralabs Scitos
KUKA youBot

They form hardware platforms from € 500 to € 25,000, which can be programmed using standard operating systems such as Linux and can thus be used in robot labs to train students. The challenge is to create easy-to-use software solutions for these platforms.

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