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One of the research focuses of the Robotics Research Lab is autonomous off-road robotics ranging from agricultural robots, construction machines to rescue vehicles of different sizes. The research includes sensor processing, localization, path planning and navigation in these challenging outdoor areas. One example of the research activities is the off-road robot RAVON which is driven by 4 electric motors and was designed to test autonomous navigation in forested terrain.
Another example deals with modelling and semi-autonomous control of a mobile bucket excavator where the objective is assisting a bucket excavator's operator by executing complex subtasks autonomously.
Furthermore, the group is working on perception algorithms for commercial vehicles e.g. obstacle detection for a semi-autonomous tractor or the detection humans next to a garbage collection truck. It is worth mentioning, that the group is a leading partner of the “Center for Commercial Vehicle Technology” which ensures the practical usage of the research and the knowledge transfer between the University and the industry.
The RRLAB also successfully participated in a large project called “Integrated Components for Assisted Rescue and Unmanned Search operations” (ICARUS) which was part EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Together with 23 other participants from 10 countries, different systems for robot-assisted search and rescue operations were integrated within four years. The main task of the Robotics Research lab was the control of two unmanned ground vehicles (1,2). In this context, challenges from the areas of low-level control, sensor data processing and navigation had to be dealt with.