Robotics Research Lab

Thor

Terraforming Heavy Outdoor Robot

Description

This project aims at developing concepts for the automation of construction equipment in agriculture and forestry, as well as building construction. In this context, concepts from mobile robotics shall be applied on construction equipment - cooperating with companies working in these domains. In a concrete application, autonomous control of a mobile bucket excavator from Volvo CE, Konz are dealt with. The objective is assisting a bucket excavator's operator by executing complex subtasks autonomously - without the need of manual intervention.

The autonomous excavator project THOR (Terraforming Heavy Outdoor Robot) has the long-term goal to let an 18 ton mobile excavator (VOLVO EW-180B) perform landscaping tasks fully autonomous. Therefore, the real research machine is equipped with electrohydraulic control valves, length measurement sensors, yaw sensors, laser-scanners and powerful PC hardware.

As the real excavator creates excavation- and lifting forces of a few tenthousand newton, it has a high hazard potential for human beings and buildings in the environment. For safe and cheap testing of implemented algorithms, a realistic simulation -and test environment was created, which contains a lifelike model of the excavator and its possible environment. The machines behavior and its interaction with dynamic objects in the environment is realistically simulated by a physics engine.

So far, the developed robots should not touch or even damage other objects. Therefore, the modeling of deformable objects or particle systems was not necessary. In contrast to these projects the autonomous excavator should on the one hand detect surface changes with its environment sensors (laser-scanners, cameras) and on the other hand react to changes of the soil caused by the machine itself or other influences. To allow for simulated testing, a particle soil-simulation was developed which uses the parallel computation power of modern graphics cards via the OpenCL interface.

Videos

Technical Data

Degrees of Freedom - Superstructure / Arm7
Degrees of Freedom - Substructure / Suspension2
Mass18t
Lifting forces100kN

Publications

Sort by: Author, Year, Title

  • Advanced Scene Aware Navigation for the Heavy Duty Off-Road Vehicle Unimog.
    Patrick Wolf, Axel Vierling, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Advanced Concepts in Mechanical Engineering (ACME2020), (2020)
  • Autonomous Off-Road Navigation using Near-Feature-Based World Knowledge Incorporation on the Example of Forest Path Detection.
    Patrick Wolf, Axel Vierling, Thorsten Ropertz, Simon Velden, Carlos Guzman and Karsten Berns
    Preprint submitted to Robotics and Autonomous Systems, (2020)
  • Behavior-Based Obstacle Detection in Off-Road Environments Considering Data Quality.
    Patrick Wolf, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics , Vol. 495, S. 786 - 809. (2020)
  • Autonomous trenching with hierarchically organized primitives.
    T Groll, S Hemer, T Ropertz and K Berns
    Automation in Construction, Vol. 98, S. 214 - 224. (2019)
  • Combining Onthologies and Behavior-Based Control for Aware Navigation in Challenging Off-Road Environments.
    Patrick Wolf, Thorsten Ropertz, Philipp Feldmann and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO 2019), S. 135 - 146. (2019)
  • Design and Analysis of Behavior-Based Systems using Formal Techniques.
    Thorsten Ropertz
    RRLab Dissertations, (2019)
    https://www.dr.hut-verlag.de/978-3-8439-4189-1.html ISBN-13: 978-3-8439-4189-1
  • Distributed Coordination and Task Assignment of Autonomous Tandem Rollers in Road Construction Scenarios.
    Patrick Wolf, Thorsten Ropertz, Alexander Matheis, Karsten Berns and Peter Decker
    36th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC 2019), S. 953 - 960. (2019)
  • White Paper. High Quality Road Construction using 5G-AMMCOA. Autonomous Mobile Machine Communication for Off-Road Applications.
    Patrick Wolf, Thorsten Ropertz, Karsten Berns and Peter Decker
    , S. 1 - 7. (2019)
  • Behavior-Based Control for Safe and Robust Navigation of an Unimog in Off-Road Environments.
    Patrick Wolf, Thorsten Ropertz, Karsten Berns, Martin Thul, Peter Wetzel and Achim Vogt
    Commercial Vehicle Technology 2018. Proceedings of the 5th Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium – CVT 2018, S. 63 - 76. (2018)
  • Behavior-Based Low-Level Control for (semi-) Autonomous Vehicles in Rough Terrain.
    Thorsten Ropertz, Patrick Wolf and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of ISR 2018, S. 386 - 393. (2018)
  • Cognitive Maps for Autonomous Machines in Construction and Civil Engineering.
    Gregor Zolynski
    (2018)
    https://www.dr.hut-verlag.de/978-3-8439-3628-6.html, Verlag Dr.Hut, ISBN: 978-3-8439-3628-6
  • Cooperation and Communication of Autonomous Tandem Rollers in Street Construction Scenarios.
    Thorsten Ropertz, Patrick Wolf, Karsten Berns, Jochen Hirth and Peter Decker
    Commercial Vehicle Technology 2018. Proceedings of the 5th Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium – CVT 2018, S. 25 - 36. (2018)
  • Local Behavior-Based Navigation in Rough Off-Road Scenarios based on Vehicle Kinematics.
    Patrick Wolf, Thorsten Ropertz, Moritz Oswald and Karsten Berns
    2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), S. 719 - 724. (2018)
  • A Behavior-based Architecture for Excavation Tasks.
    Tobias Groll, Steffen Hemer, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    34th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC), S. 1005 - 1012. (2017)
  • Quality-Based Behavior-Based Control for Autonomous Robots in Rough Environments.
    Thorsten Ropertz, Patrick Wolf and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO 2017), Vol. 1, S. 513 - 524. (2017)
  • Behavior-based Collision Avoidance using a Cylinder-Coordinate Octree.
    Daniel Schmidt, Fabian Göckel and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS-14), (2016)
  • Entwicklung einer effizienten Abladesimulation.
    Philipp Feldmann
    (2016)
  • Shaping the Future - A Control Architecture for Autonomous Landscaping with an Excavator.
    Daniel Schmidt
    RRLab Dissertations, (2016)
    http://www.dr.hut-verlag.de/978-3-8439-2816-8.html ISBN-13: 978-3-8439-2816-8
  • Verification of Behavior-Based Control Systems in their Physical Environment.
    Thorsten Ropertz, Karsten Berns, Xian Li and Klaus Schneider
    Methoden und Beschreibungssprachen zur Modellierung und Verifikation von Schaltungen und Systemen (MBMV), S. 128 - 137. (2016)
  • Construction Site Navigation for the Autonomous Excavator Thor.
    Daniel Schmidt and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Automation, Robotics and Applications, (2015)
  • Detection of multiple object types within a pointcloud.
    Simon Böhm
    (2015)
  • Soft Robot Control with a Behaviour-Based Architecture.
    Christopher Armbrust, Lisa Kiekbusch, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    Soft Robotics - Transferring Theory to Application, S. 81 - 91. (2015)
  • Automatic Generation of Safety Fields for Articulated Construction Vehicle Arms.
    Gregor Zolynski and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 3rd Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium CVT 2014, S. 47 - 55. (2014)
  • Behavior-based trajectory adaptation based on bucket-volume estimation.
    Daniel Schmidt and Karsten Berns
    Commercial Vehicle Technology 2014 – Proceedings of the 3rd Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium (CVT 2014), S. 347 - 356. (2014)
  • Camera and laser scanner fusion and probability checking.
    Stephan Schlosser
    (2014)
  • On the Benefits of Component-Defined Real-Time Visualization of Robotics Software.
    Max Reichardt, Gregor Zolynski, Michael Arndt and Karsten Berns
    4th International Conference on Simulation, Modeling, and Programming for Autonomous Robots (SIMPAR 2014) , Vol. 8810, S. 376 - 387. (2014)
  • Point Cloud Collection and Analysis.
    Patrick Vatter
    (2014)
  • Safety for an Autonomous Bucket Excavator During Typical Landscaping Tasks.
    Gregor Zolynski, Daniel Schmidt and Karsten Berns
    New Trends in Medical and Service Robots, Vol. 20, S. 357 - 368. (2014)
  • Verification of Behavior-Based Networks - Using Satisfiability Modulo Theories.
    Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings for the joint conference of ISR 2014 and ROBOTIK 2014, S. 669 - 674. (2014)
  • Development of a behavior-based obstacle collision avoidance for the autonomous excavator THOR.
    Fabian Göckel
    (2013)
  • Development of the alignment and displacement functions for thors undercarriage.
    Christopher Schank
    (2013)
  • Generierung dynamischer Sicherheitsfelder für einen autonomen Mobilbagger.
    Mohammad Tavangar
    (2013)
  • Interconnection of the behavior-based control architecture and a detailed mechatronic machine model for realistic behavior verification of the Thor project.
    Daniel Schmidt, Tamas Juhasz, Karsten Berns and Ulrich Schmucker
    Informatik 2013, (2013)
  • Quantitative Aspects of Behaviour Network Verification.
    Christopher Armbrust, Lisa Kiekbusch, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 26th Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 7884, (2013)
  • Tool-Assisted Verification of Behaviour Networks.
    Christopher Armbrust, Lisa Kiekbusch, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2013), S. 1813 - 1820. (2013)
  • Versatile and Efficient Point Cloud Splitting.
    Patrick Vatter
    (2013)
  • Behavior-based Arm Control for an Autonomous Bucket Excavator.
    Sergey Pluzhnikov, Daniel Schmidt, Jochen Hirth and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 2nd Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium (CVT 2012), S. 251 - 261. (2012)
  • Estimation of Visibility and Self-Occlusion for Voxel Objects.
    Simon Böhm
    (2012)
  • Generating Behaviour Networks from Finite-State Machines.
    Christopher Armbrust, Daniel Schmidt and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 7th German Conference on Robotics (ROBOTIK 2012), (2012)
  • Graphical Support for the Verification of Behaviour Networks.
    Thorsten Ropertz
    (2012)
  • Lkw-Erkennung für einen autonomen Mobilbagger.
    Martin Lichtenthal
    (2012)
  • Modellierung und verteilte Simulation eines autonomen Mobilbaggers.
    Dr Juhasz, Daniel Schmidt, Lisa Kiekbusch, Prof Schmucker and Prof Berns
    Tagungsband Fachtagung Digitales Engineering zum Planen, Testen und Betreiben Technischer Systeme, S. 123 - 130. (2012)
  • Point Cloud Gathering for an Autonomous Bucket Excavator in Dynamic Surroundings.
    Gregor Zolynski, Christopher Schank and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 2nd Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium (CVT 2012), S. 262 - 271. (2012)
  • Verification of Behaviour Networks Using Finite-State Automata.
    Christopher Armbrust, Lisa Kiekbusch, Thorsten Ropertz and Karsten Berns
    KI 2012, (2012)
    http://www.shaker.de/de/content/catalogue/index.asp?lang=de&ID=8&ISBN=978-3-8440-0798-5
  • Modelling of Behaviour-Based Systems.
    Thorsten Ropertz
    (2011)
  • An autonomous excavator for landscaping tasks.
    Daniel Schmidt and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings for the joint conference of ISR 2010 and ROBOTIK 2010, S. 819 - 826. (2010)
  • Feasibility Study for the Automation of Commercial Vehicles on the Example of a Mobile Excavator.
    Carsten Hillenbrand, Daniel Schmidt, Nureddin Bennett, Peter Bach, Karsten Berns and Christian Schindler
    Commercial Vehicle Technology 2010 - Proceedings of the 1st Commercial Vehicle Technology Symposium (CVT 2010), S. 22 - 31. (2010)
  • Simulating Vehicle Kinematics with SimVis3D and Newton.
    Jens Wettach, Daniel Schmidt and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Simulation, Modeling, and Programming for Autonomous Robots (SIMPAR’10), S. 156 - 167. (2010)
  • Simulation and Control of an Autonomous Bucket Excavator for Landscaping Tasks.
    Daniel Schmidt, Martin Proetzsch and Karsten Berns
    Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2010), S. 5108 - 5113. (2010)
  • Soil Simulation and Behaviour-Based Control for Landscaping Tasks of an Autonomous Bucket Excavator.
    Daniel Schmidt
    (2009)
  • Dynamic modelling and control of a mobile bucket excavator.
    Daniel Schmidt
    (2008)

 

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