Ground and Aerial Robots for Challenging Environments
Date: April 21, 2016, 11:00-12:30
Location: TU Vienna
Abstract:Disaster response operations or industrial inspections are among the most rewarding but also most challenging tasks for autonomous mobile robot. While robots are already doing a wonderful job as factory work-horses or floor cleaning devices, operations in highly unstructured and unknown environments, which are typically encountered after disasters, in mines or on offshore oil rigs are still a major challenge.
Within this talk, our latest research results in legged and flying robots systems, designed to operate in complex environments, are presented and discussed.
Our electrically powered legged quadruped robots are designed for high agility, efficiency and robustness in rough terrain. This is realized through an optimal exploitation of the natural dynamics and serial elastic actuation. Equipped with laser scanners and cameras, our quadruped StarlETH and AnyMal are able to autonomously find their path through rough terrain, climb stairs and build a 3D map of their environment.
For fast inspection of complex environments, flying robots are probably the most efficient and versatile devices. However, the limited payload and computing power of multi-copters renders autonomous navigation quite challenging. Thanks to our custom designed visual-inertial sensor, real-time on-board localization, mapping and planning has become feasible and enables our multi-copters for advanced rescue and inspection tasks, even in GPS-denied environments.
Overcoming the limited power autonomy and flight range of multi-copters is the main focus of our research in unmanned solar airplanes, omnidirectional blimps and hybrid systesm. Our most recent design of a fixed wing solar airplane with 5.6 m wing span allows for unlimited flight durations, thus enabling search and rescue from the air over large environments. Thanks to on-board visual sensing, these solar airplanes are also capable to fly very close to ground and plan their path around obstacles.
Roland Siegwart, Autonomous Systems Lab & Wyss Zurich
Roland Siegwart (born in 1959) is professor for autonomous mobile robots at ETH Zurich, founding co-director of the Wyss Translational Center Zurich and member of the board of directors of multiple high tech companies. He studied mechanical engineering at ETH, brought up a spin-off company, spent ten years as professor at EPF Lausanne (1996 – 2006), was vice president of ETH Zurich (2010 -2014) and held visiting positions at Stanford University and NASA Ames.
He is and was the coordinator of multiple European projects and co-founder of half a dozen spin-off companies. He is IEEE Fellow, recipient of the IEEE RAS Inaba Technical Award and officer of the International Federation of Robotics Research (IFRR). He is in the editorial board of multiple journals in robotics and was a general chair of several conferences in robotics including IROS 2002, AIM 2007, FSR 2007 and ISRR 2009. His interests are in the design and navigation of wheeled, walking and flying robots operating in complex and highly dynamical environments.