"ROBOTICS IN AUSTRIA"

lynxherringΤεχνίτη Νοημοσύνη και Ρομποτική

18 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

163 εμφανίσεις






"ROBOTICS IN AUSTRIA"




State of the art report

2009


based
on a

study

of BMVIT




P. Kopacek



Institute for Handling Devices and Robotics, Vienna University of Technology

Favoritenstrasse 9
-
11, A


1040 Wien, Austria

Tel.: +43.1.58801
-
31801

FAX: +
43.1.58801
-
31899

e
-
mail: kopacek@ihrt.tuwien.ac.at




1
Austria (IFR 2007)


The following part shows an actual robotic overview for Austria. The data are
directly taken from the “World robotics report 2007” (IFR 2007) of the International
Federation of Rob
otics.


Since 2003, the IFR Statistical Department has been collecting the data used from
Austrian and international robot suppliers. Up to 2002, the data were provided by the
Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WIFI).


1.1
Sales


In Austria 498 units of Robots
are

sold in the year 2006 ( Fig.1.1
.). This is an
increase of 3 % against 2005.

A classification for this amount


percentage of increasing
-

is



66% handling



17% welding



29% rubber and plastic products



28% metal products.


1.1.1.

Stock of operational robots


Th
e stock of operational r
obots reached about 4.400 units.

This is
6% greater than
2005
.


A classification for the stock of operational robots is



68% handling




14%
welding
.






Fig. 1.1
. Annually supply of industrial robots in Austria

(IFR 2007)



1.2
Supp
ly and total operational stock


In 2006, the number of newly installed industrial robots increased slightly by 3%.
This was the result of high increases in the rubber and plastics industry and the metal
products industry, which offset a large decrease of
supplies within the automotive
industry

(Fig. 3.11
.
)

This was itself preceded by a significant fall in investments by
aut
omotive parts suppliers in 2005.


At the end of 2006, total
accumulated sales
of robots reached about 6.
600 units, of
which it is estim
ated that the
operational stock
amounted to 4.
382 units, 6% highe
r
than in 2005 (Figs. 1.2
.


1.5
.
).






Fig. 1.2
.
Yearly percentage change in supplies of industrial robots in Austria (IFR
2007)






Fig.
1.3
.
Estimated operational stock of industrial
robots at year
-
end in Austria (IFR
2007)







Fig. 1.4
.
Yearly percentage change in estimated operational stock of industrial
robots in Austria (IFR 2007)




Fig. 1.5
.
Estimated yearly supply of industrial robots in Austria by applications 2005
-
2006



(
IFR 2007)


1.3

Application areas


Handling operations and machine tending,
with 66% of the
supplies made in 2006
,
was the largest application area. With a share of 26% of the total supply,
plastic
moulding
was the most important handling application, increasi
ng by 32%.
Handling
operations
at machine tools increased by 49% to a share of 25%.
Welding
, the
second largest application area, with a share of 17% of the total, was up 41%.
Arc
welding
take
n alone had a share of 15% (Tab.3.2.
).





Table 1.1
.
Shipment
s of industrial robots during the year. Unit distribution by
application areas. (IFR 2007)


Handling operations and machine tending
are the largest application areas,
accounting for about 68% of the
2006 stock of robots,
including
plastic moulding
with 22
%. The share of
welding
is about 1
4% (Tab. 1.2
.
, Fig.

1.6
.).





Table 1.2
.
Operational stock of industrial robots at the end of the year in Austria.
Unit distribution by application areas (IFR 2007)







Fig. 1.6
. Operational stock of industrial robot
s at year
-
end in Austria by applications

2005
-
2006 (IFR 2007)





Fig. 1.7
.
Estimated yearly supply of industrial robots at year
-
end in Austria by main
industries 2005
-
2006 (IFR 2007)



1.4

Industrial branches


The rubber and plastics industry became the lar
gest application area in 2006, with a
share of 29% of the total supply. The number of units purchased increased by 26%.
Sales to the metal products industry surged from 19 units to 138 units. The supply to
the automotive industry plummeted by 75%. Supplies

to general industry


all
industries except the automotive


increased by 46%

(Fig.1.8., Tab. 1.3
.)
.




Table 1.3
.
Shipments of industrial robots during the year. Unit distribution by
industrial branches (IFR 2007)



1.4


Types of robots


Articulated robot
s had a share of 76%, while linear/cartesian/gantry robots accounted
for 20% and SCARA for 2% (see
Tab. 3.5.
).




Table

1.4
.
Apparent consumption (yearly supply) of industrial robots by types of
robots. Number of units (IFR 2007)


1.5

Remark:
Austria


Europ
e


World


From Table 1.1

follows: In 2006 from the 950.974 worldwide installed industrial
robots 315.624 or 33.2% were installed in Europe. The 4.382 robots in Austria are
0.46% of the worldwide or 1.38% of the installed robots in Europe.

In the forecast
for 2010 there should be 1.173.300 robots worldwide in use. The
estimated 380.000 robots in Europe are 32.4%. Under the assumption


according to
the trend
-

5.000 robots in Austria in 2010 we will have only 0.42% of the robots
worldwide and 1.31% of the r
obots in Europe.

Result: The robot population in Europe in the next three years is, according to this
statistic, a little bit slower growing than in the rest of the world. That’s also true for
Austria.

Unfortunately there are currently no relevant statisti
cal data available for mobile,
intelligent robots.



2

Robotics in Austria


For coordination of robot activities in Austria the “Austrian Society for Automation
and Robotics


ÖGART” was founded in 2002.

This organisation together with the “
IFAC Supervisor
y Board


IFAC Beirat” represent Austria in various international
organisations e.g. “ International Federation of Automatic Control


IFAC”, “
International Federation of Robotics


IFR”, “International Advanced Robotics
Program


IARP”, …..


2.1


Research


A
s pointed out earlier the Austrian industry is mainly dominated by small and
medium sized companies. Therefore robotic research on Universities as well as
research institutes have to be mainly industry oriented. Because of the size of Austria
these institu
tes are usually very small in comparison with other countries. We have
two Technical Universities (Vienna and Graz) and some other Universities with
Departments or research groups on robotics (University of Linz; University of
Mining, Leoben; University of

Salzburg, University of Innsbruck). In addition some
Universities of Applied Sciences (Technikum Wien, FH Wels, FH Kärnten, …..) and
HTL`s (HTL Leonding,….) are or will be busy in this field.



Therefore robotic research is mainly concentrated on these in
stitutions and on
research institutes (Austrian Research Centres Seibersdorf (ARCS), Austrian
Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI), Research Institute for Symbolic
Computation (RISC Linz), Profactor,……) as well as on some companies.


The
well known sentence "small is beautiful" is valid for robotic research in Austria.
The average size of research groups in Austria is approximately 6. This requires high
flexibility and motivation of the researchers. Research on robotics in Austria is
finan
ced by some funds (FWF


Austrian Science Fund, FFG
-
Austrian Research
Promotion Agency formerly
FFF


Austrian Industrial Research Promotion Fund
, by
projects from the EU,……). The main task of the Austrian research should be the
field of industrial applic
ations. In the Austrian industry a strong demand for flexible
and modular "low cost" solution for robotic systems can be obtained.


To transfer international knowledge in the Austrian industry some international
scientific events have been or will be organ
ized in Austria e.g. the




IFAC

Workshop Manufacturing Systems: Modeling, Management and
Control, 1997, Vienna.



IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Engineering Systems, 1998,
Vienna.



7
th

International Workshop on Computer Aided Systems Theory and
T
echnology


EUROCAST´99, September1999, Vienna.



1
st

Intern. Workshop on Multi
-
Agent Systems in Production


MAS´99,
December 1999, Vienna.



6
th

IFAC Symposium on "Robot Control"
-

SYROCCO'00, September 2000,
Vienna.



IMEKO / IFAC / IFIP Workshop on Advanced
Robot Systems and Virtual
Reality
-

ISMCR'2000, September 2000, Vienna.




10
th

International Workshop on ROBOTICS IN ALPE
-
ADRIA
-
DANUBE
REGION
-

RAAD 2001, Vienna, May 2001.



10
th

IFAC Symposium on “Information Control Problems in Manufacturing


INCOM 2001”
, Vienna, September 2001.



1
st

IARP Workshop on “Robots for Humanitarian Demining
-

HUDEM’02”,
November 2002, Vienna.



2
nd

IARP Workshop on “Robots for Humanitarian Demining
-

HUDEM`03”.
On site Workshop, Prishtina, Kosovo; June 2003.



2
nd

FIRA World Congress
, 2003; Vienna, October 2003 in conjunction with
the FIRA Robotsoccer World Cup.



CLAWAR/EURON Workshop on “Robots in Entertainment, Leisure and
Hobby”, December 2004, Vienna.



5
th

International Conference on “
Computational Intelligence, Robotics and
Autono
mous Systems


CIRAS 2008”, June 19


21, 2008; Linz.

In
conjunction with the FIRA European Cup 2008 ( EUROBY 2008).


This will be continued in the future. In preparation and planning are currently:




18
th

International Workshop ROBOTICS IN ALPE
-
ADRIA
-
DAN
UBE
REGION
-

RAAD 2009, Vienna, May 2009.


In the following a first overview on robotics in Austria will be given. This is mainly
based on information of selected Research and University institutes as well as
companies . These are divided in two groups: In
dustrial and mobile robots. Some of
them are included in both groups according to their research subjects. An overview is
given in Tab. 4.1


4.4.


2.1.1

Research in Industrial Robots


In this field

only these 2 research and 9 University institutes as well as 3

companies
are included with contributes to this study. The deadline for the last update was end
of 2007. Furthermore only institutions were included which make research in the
broadest sense. In some cases it was difficult to find the borderline between r
esearch
and application.


Automation & Control Institute


ACIN, Vienna University of Technology


A "lotsize 1" application is continued with the REDUX (FFG) project. The task is to
automatically follow seams on carbon fibre mats for robotic sewing of wor
k

pieces
for airplane or car parts. This is a large project together with EADS, Kuka and iSAM
in Germany. Our part is the optical detection of the seam for automatically sewing at
the correct seam position.


In the SmartTracking (FWF) project, a new, gener
ic approach to real
-
time tracking
using a combination of "inertial sensors and cameras" is searched. The primary goal
is a reliable reconstruction of the trajectory of the system itself, as well as the
recovery of 3D structure required for successful track
ing.


Together with Profactor (see below) two projects furthered the state of the art in
flexible production to achieve lot sizes of one: FlexPaint set out to paint any part
based on measuring the 3D surface and classifying it
in
to process
-
oriented feature
s
rel
e
vant for the painting process. In FibreScope bore holes have been measured and
located with 0.3mm and 0.5 degrees accuracy for automatic inspection with an
endoscope.

The newly granted EU Integrated Projects GRASP and CogX investigate how it is
possi
ble to grasp objects resp
ectively

how to learn object functions from interaction.
Both projects

will start in 2008
.



In the research field of "Coginitive Information Processing", artificial neural nets and
knowledge based systems are used for semantic inf
ormation proce
ssing. For
example, a neural coo
rdination unit for a hyper
-
redundant tentacle robot
-
arm has
been designed
.


Department of Computer Sciences, University of Salzburg


The Department is mainl
y involved in mathematical and computational m
ethods:

Robot kinematics: Mathematical m
odel
ling of the robot map (from configuration
space to workspace), the kinematic chain of a robot a
rm
: forward kinematics
-

inverse kinematics
-

singularity d
etection
.

Applications of computer a
lgebra (especially for computa
tion and representation of a
general symbolic solution to the inverse kinematics problem of a class of robot
arms).

Application of A
rtificial Neural Network (ANN) techniques: Learning the robot m
ap
(the kinematic
al

model).

Hybrid approaches: Combination

of computer algebra and ANN t
echniques to
model
a robot arm (kinematics)
.

Sensor Data Processing.

Simulation:

E
xperience exists in the use of player s
tage/Gazebo. Work in progress:
Implementation

of a new robot scenario s
imulator using Java3D.


Univers
ity of Applied Sciences Wels


In order to approach the ability of robots to meet the requirements of su
bsequent
machining two problems

must

be solved first: 1.
The accuracy of the robot’s path
while under subsequent machining forces must be vastly improve
d. 2. The
programming of the robot’s path must be up to standard with present
-
day CAM/CNC
systems.


Until now
a test cell with KR 15
-
2 robot, force/momentum sensor and a cooled HSC
spindle, a machining strategy via the load
-
oriented path of the robot (for
ce
controlled) a closed data stream from CAD via CAM programming to robotic control
systems and an integrated machine
-
vision system for the part identification based
upon CAD data

was developed
.
In the future
the rapid and accurate determination of
the rob
ot’s path

will be improved
.


As a synergetic theme
work

goes on

in the classical pick and place field
-

machine
vision

supporting robot handling. Main emphasis is currently
on

simple geometric
objects
-

cubes

and cylinders with different metallic surfaces
like blank, polished or
scaled. There are partner companies who get their semi finished goods unsorted
delivered in boxes and have to put these objects either to a CNC
-
machine or a
conveyor belt.
3D
-
scanners and tactile grippers

are used
.


Institute for A
utomation, University of Mining, Leoben


R
esearch

of the institute is

in the area of optical servoing for the control and
positioning of industrial robots. In particular techniques are being investigated for
auto calibration of the imaging and robotic syst
ems.


Intelligent Handling and Robotics


IHRT, Vienna University of Technology


The task of IHRT is to carry out theoretical research in the field of robotics focused
on industrial applications especially in Austrian small and medium sized enterprises
-

SME`s. This leads to following research topics: kinematics and kinetics of
industrial robots,

advanced control algorithms, optimal path planning, sensors and
sensor
-
signals (embedded systems), applications, robots in CIM
-
concepts, assembly
and disassembly

with industrial robots, low cost vision systems, assembly and
disassembly oriented design, application of artificial intelligence in robotics
especially fuzzy and neuronal concepts, social and cultural aspects of robotics and
cost oriented automation (COA
).


An important research area is robot application in recycling. One very significant
part there is disassembling, which is the starting point of all recycling processes. To
automate different recycling processes it is necessary to connect disassembling w
ith
automation and intelligent systems. Together with an Austrian company disassembly
cells for printed circuit boards, mobile phones and TFT screens were developed
(Kopacek and Kopacek 2005).


Closely related is the new research field “End of Life Managem
ent


EoL” of
industrial robots mostly driven by the WEEE ( Waste from Electric and Electronic
Equipment) directive of the EU.


Research Institute for Symbolic Computation (RISC), Johannes Kepler University of
Linz.


RISC deals with symbolic computation
which covers all algorithmic aspects of
solving problems with symbolic (i.e. non
-
numeric) entities such as algebraic
formulas, logical propositions, or geometric objects.


One application area for symbolic computation is soft

automation including robotics.

Many sub

problems in the simulation, analysis, control, and supervision of robots or
whole robot working cells can be attacked by symbolic techniques like geometric
model
l
ing, computational geometry, algebraic geometry, knowledge engineering, or
computer
graphics.


In this context, foundational research at the RISC institute currently focuses on the
area of algebraic geometry which deals with the treatment of 2D curves and 3D
surfaces represented by algebraic formulas with the help of computer algebra
meth
ods. In computer aided geometric design, such algebraic curves and surfaces
play an essential role in model
l
ing physical and virtual objects. We aim at the
improvement and/or perfection of existing methods and the derivation of new
methods for designing, m
anipulating, and visualizing algebraic curves and surfaces.


Related industrial activities are pursed by the RISC software company which has a
core competence in machine simulation, e.g. of driverless transport systems (control,
model
l
ing, and simulation s
oftware, automatic generation of the simulation model,
optimization of throughput and testing of the driving route
-

and configuration
-
logic
at model
l
ing time) or injection moulding machines (automatic generation of high
fidelity simulation model from CAD a
nd hydraulic plans, machine
-
simulation for test
and training environments).


Institute of

Robotics, Johannes Kepler University of Linz.


The Institute is mainly working in the fields of platforms, rigid robots, flexible
link/joint robots and pneumatically
driven robots.


Currently an emphasis is the modeling and control of flexible link/joint robots. A
methodology for an efficient modeling of these multi body systems is developed
using an algorithm for fast computer simulation. Deduced from the simulation
m
odel, model based control algorithms are implemented. All the concepts are tested
on a self made flexible link/joint robot.


Institute of Technical Mechanics, Johannes Kepler University of Linz


In the field of multibody dynamic systems and robotics, the
Institute focuses its
research on the formulation and numerical simulation of the equations of motion of
complex systems. Special emphasis is laid on large deformation, e.g. for very
flexible components, inelastic deformations, e.g. under severe environmen
tal
conditions, and the simulation of the whole mechatronic system, including detailed
modelling of the flexible bodies, classical joints and advanced joints, actuators and
control. Special numerical simulation tools have been developed that are partially
available as a freeware, see
http://tmech.mechatronik.uni
-
linz.ac.at/staff/gerstmayr/hotint.html
.

The simulation tool is currently able to
simulate or optimize a robotic system that consists of rigid bodies, beams, plates and
finite element models. Modal r
eduction techniques can be used to significantly
reduce the degrees of freedom of large scale finite element models of the single
bodies in the system. The bodies are driven by external forces, or user
-
definable
actuators, e.g. hydraulic actuators. Control
ler
-
elements are used to control the gain of
the actuators by means of different types of sensors. The simulation can be
performed with an arbitrary interaction with other bodies by contact, e.g. with
granular media, which allows to simulate robots even un
der real world conditions.


University of Applied Sciences “Technikum Wien”.


In the first part of the study

of the course “Mechatronics/Robotics”

the basics of
Robotics, Mechanics, Electrical engineering and Informatics are being taught. In
higher semeste
rs future technologies like Micro and Mobile robotics are part of the
curricu
lum. The contents of the courses

are being updated every year to fit the needs
of the industry. Students can fulfil your praxis semester either at company within
Austria or at a c
ompany abroad. Lectures are being held by university professors,
subject specialists or international guest lecturers.

In the first semester, the students already learn how to program an industry robot.
From the beginning on they have the chance to work on

concrete projects, to try out
the newest controls and sensors and to visit various production companies.

During the first year of the Department of Mechatronics and Robotics was built a
high
-
tech robot lab with nine different industrial robots and many di
fferent kind of
newest robot simulation software.


PROFACTOR Research and Solutions GmbH

Advanced Service Robotics (ASR).


As a result of a buy
-
out of the “Mechatronic Automation Systems”

department of
Austrian Research Centres (ARC), the new founded compa
ny PROFACTOR
Research and Solutions GmbH
is

active

in

the
development of robotic systems for

medicine,

rehabilitation and
care applications
.

In the field of Medical Robotics, research is concentrating on the

development of
robotic systems for any kind of n
eedle based
percutaneous
interventions.

One
cornerstone
of development
is
the
“B
-
RobI
I

robot system. This

modular
4DOF
active robot
system
supports the interventionist by positioning the biopsy needle

or
any similar medical tool
along the desired path

wit
h high accuracy
. A planning
screen allows pre
-
operative planning of

the intervention as well as intra
-
operatively
control of the needle

inser
tion.
Together with national and international research
partners various applications based on this robot system ha
ve been developed and
successfully evaluated both in vivo and in vitro


e.g. a setup for TRUS
brachytherapy (together with Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore/USA), a setup for
RF ablation (together with NIH, Bethesda/USA and Georgetown University,
Washin
gton/USA), as well as a setup for CT and US guided biopsy procedures in
abdominal area (together with the General Hospital, Vienna/Austria). Recent
development also includes development of endoscopic procedures (e.g. in ENT
surgery) or neuro
-
surgical setup
s based on B
-
Rob II technology. It is planned to
place the B
-
Rob II system to the market at mid of 2008.


In the area of
Rehabilitation Robotics main research activity of ASR is in the field of
neuro
-
rehabilitation. Together with the ARC business field “Bi
omedical
Engineering” as well as the “LKH Hochzirl” a
dual
-
arm system

(“ARMOR”)

consisting of a 12 DOF passive master and a 12 DOF active/passive slave

exoskeleton has been developed for therapy of the upper extremities. ARMOR
mainly aims for functional th
erapy after stroke.

The setup allows different therapy
setups, such as teach
-
in definition of training patterns as well as master
-
slave
operation.
After a very positive patient study with 8 subjects the system now is in
clinical evaluation by means of a 2
-
year study with 40 (robot group) + 40 (control
group) patients.


A second research area in Rehabilitation Robotics is in the field of “Robot Assisted
Play”. Robot system “PlayROB”, for example, aims to assist severe handicapped
children during playing with

LEGO bricks. With the support of the robot system,
these children are in the position to play in an autonomous, self
-
defined way


a kind
of experience which is new for most of them! Playing with the help of PlayROB
robot system not only brings fun


it a
lso strengthens their feeling of independence,
self
-
esteem, and also adds to spatial recognition and cause
-
effect experience. Six of
these PlayROB systems have been developed up to now


the systems are in use at
selected Austrian institutions for a long
-
t
erm evaluation of the system and training
effects caused by the regular use of the robot.


Another recent research initiative


also based on the very positive experiences with
PlayROB


deals with the development of an interactive robotic system which ai
ms
as mediator in playing context.


The research focus of
project
IROMEC


funded in the framework of EC
-
FP6 and
conducted by ASR
-

is on the user oriented definition of appropriate play scenarios,
development of evaluation methods, definition of robot be
haviours and interaction
modes, and finally a system development compatible with safety as well as market
demands. Outcomes of IROMEC will demonstrate on a conceptual, experimental,
and technological level the novel role of a robotic mediator in therapy an
d education
of children who are usually prevented from play.


PROFACTOR Produktionsforschungs GmbH,

Robotics and Adaptive Systems (RAS).


The group “
Robotics and Adaptive Systems


RAS” deals with
computer vision and
measurement science. In the past, the g
roup has gathered great experience in various
national and international research

projects on autonomous robots and
sensor
-
based
con
trol of redundant manipulators.



One of the strongest trends in industry is the transition from mass production towards
a s
ervice oriented one which provides production on demand, mass customization,
and ra
pid reaction to market changes.


As a first step, self
-
programming robot systems generate the application program out
of simulation and planning systems based on sensory in
put or transferred product
data. Two main concepts have been developed so far: Robot path generation on (i)
sensor data and (ii) product data (CAD). The former concept completely relies on the
detection of a full three
-
dimensional model in world coordinate
s. In order to generate
a consistent model, methods on range image registration, surface modelling and
feature detection have been integrated. An embedded automatic robot planning
system with real sensor integration will unleash the limited capability of t
oday’s
machine vision systems and give full access to product data, handling any kind of
uncertainties.


Several projects have been launched so far tackling the demand of small lot size
production. The main target of the EC project FibreScope (Flexible Ins
pection of
Bores with a Robotic EndoSCOPE) was to develop an industrial system for
automated 100% surface inspection of bores, which meets the quality
-
control
requirements for safety critical applications.


The EC project FlexPaint (Efficient Low Volume Hi
gh Variant Robotized

Painting),
coordinated by
RAS
, focused on the development of

methodologies to autom
ate

painting applications for smaller lot sizes (below 10000) with a very high number of
variants (more than 100 per year) at total part numbers in the
range of 10000 per
year.


A great leap forward in terms of process quality is the EC project Eco2painter with
the aim to enhance the “what you see is what you paint” approach. It basically closes
the loop of the process by integrating paint simulation mod
els and sophisticated paint
optimization strategies to iteratively adapt automatically generated paint strokes in
order to gain homogenous paint coverage. The system has been adopted for another
non
-
contact application such as sandblasting.


Robotized insp
ection in general is a way to adapt optical inspection systems for small
lot sizes. In particular
RAS

developed a 3D completeness check system to fully
inspect an engine compartment. Group of components are autonomously verified in
respect to their complet
eness of assembly.


Grasping of unknown objects in cluttered industrial settings is a mayor issue and
becomes more and more important for autom
ate
handling systems for e.g. to pick
complex shaped parts in a box and put them in a machine tool.
RAS

develope
d an
autonomous handling robot featuring full 3D recognition capabilities and
autonomous grasping of a huge variety of parts.


FerRobotics Compliant Robot Technology, Linz.


The company
was founded in June 2006 and is located in Linz
. The company

philosop
hy is to bring a new generation of flexible light

weight robots on the market.


FerRobotics has invented a new robot technology based on physical compliance, the
“magic muscle control”. This outstanding technology is vital to provide a vast vari
e
ty
of till

recently not yet possible tasks. The special invention on this new robot
generation is to perform gently, to be sensitive to resistance, but to manage high
workload at the same time. The also implemented show
-
do programming offers the
possibility to set u
p new work situations easily, which integrates robots in industrial
processes with changing tasks and small lot sizes from now on.


Such an innovative characteristic invites robot technology to direct and safe
cooper
a
tion with humans in many fi
elds: A comp
liant structure allows to
perform
also industrial purposes gently, even shoulder to shoulder with humans. On top of all
medical technology is becoming one of the main focus for life aid robots.


For medical technology and healthcare a physically compliant

device provides help
in many aspects. Either to support nursing itself or as a sort of daily life aid, helping
robots gain
s

increasing importance in our society.


Lightweight Robot Arm

The FerRobotics lightweigh
t robot arm is based on a

combination of a
hybrid drive concept, pneumatic air
muscles (pressure 6 bar) and electric power system (220
V). The special “magic muscle control” defines the state
-
of
-
the
-
art character of this new robot arm and its special
accomplishments. Similar

to a human arm the ligh
t
weight robot provides up to 7 degrees of freedom.
Furthermore this special robot arm is able to carry out tasks on contact with absol
ute
compliance
.


3D Motion Board

The
mobile 3D motion board also operates based on this
state
-
of
-
the
-
art magic m
uscle co
ntrol. This board
offers
the full range of smooth motions up to jerky vibrations.
Power and speed are infinitely viable on demand and
even a standard PC interface connection provides reams
of function, which underlines the unique symbiosis of
high
-
tech per
formance and easy handling at the same
time.


igm Robotersysteme AG., Wiener Neudorf.


“igm” is the first producer of industrial robots in Austria. The company is
concentrated in production of robotized welding systems for heavy parts.
One of the
last deve
lopments is the
Laser Hybrid Welding Head
.


Laser welding is one of the most advances joining technologies, promising a wide
spread in the next years. It is the aim of the heavy machine industry to implement
this technology also for thick sheet metals. Be
side of the convincing advantages (low
h
eat input, low distortion, high
welding speed)
there are still major aspects, blocking wide
application: the process is highly sensitive for gap
and position tolerances, requiring expensive seam
preparation and holdi
ng fixtures. The solution is a
combined Laser and MIG welding, the hybrid
process, permitting limited gaps and offsets. For
this, a com
plex guide of two process media

up to the welding head of the robot is
required. Usual systems feature in huge and heavy
heads, preventing any access of
complex work piece structures.


igm is working on a extreme compact welding head, which shall combine the well
known advantage of all igm robots


the media lead
-
through of the hollow shaft
allowing free torch rotation


wi
th the high power laser process. The new head will
be combines with a high accurate camera system for online tracking and adaptive
welding control. The prototype has already been presented on international
exhibitions.


Features of the Laser head

max. powe
r 6 kW

solid state or disc Laser

diameter of spot 450 µm

for sheet thickness up to 8 mm (steel) or 5 mm (aluminium)

water cooled collimating optics, focusing unit and filter adaptor

air connection for cross
-
jet

water cooled MIG/MAG torch up to 450 A


Impro
vements are done on the igm off
-
line teaching, an
d

programming system using
the real igm robot controller RCi and being operated with the original igm teach
pendant K5. The market success of that system lead
s

to a number of further
improvements making prog
ramming quicker and easier.


Following automatic features have been developed:

automatic generation of welding points: the necessary
points of the seam to be welded are generated by simple
clicking on the respective edge


automatic generation of intermedi
ate points:
intermediate points for re
-
orientation of the torch on
corners are set automatically


automatic programming of search drives: basing on the
start point of the join the single search drives and torch
orientations are planned automatically


full
support of integrated Laser sensor: the movement of the Laser sensor with the
measuring range of the beam is simulated and the result is shown on the display
.



x
-
technics Ltd, Eisenstadt


The company deals with robotized solutions for micro handling base
d
on the cell
from x
-
p² Kameleon


a small and accurate industrial robot.


T
he base cell x
-
p² Kameleon is a

standardized,

flexible robot cell, available in 3
different sizes for various applications. The assembly of the cell is made in the
workshop with a

Quick start
-
up partially similar to
the goals of the SMErob project
(Haegele, Nilsson, 2006).



In the future

there will be a continuing

development

of the basic cell x
-
p² Kameleon
as well as
of the program
m
i
ng surface for robots. Furthermore a

4 axles ro
bots, with
a repet
ition accuracy of 1µm and a payload of 1,0kg and

a 6 axles robot

with 10µm
repetition accuracy

should be ready in the next two years.



A

new pick
-
up system for micro parts (parts under 200µm and smaller) and a
new
measuring system for mi
cro parts (FFG promotion project "3D Nano Profiler") is in
development.


From all this, results a good

possibility for integration of the system in

production
lines, whereby is supported a fast implementation and in further consequence, the
system proves t
he attainable production and quality improvements.


2.2

Research o
n Mobile Robots


In this section

9 University institutes, 4 Universities of Applied Sciences, 1
Enginering school (HTL), 2 Research institutes and one company


in total 17 are
included. From t
he University institutes 4 are engaged in theoretical


mostly basic


research. 4 are involved in robotsoccer


two in FIRA and two in Robocup. Only two
University institutes and two Universities of Applied Sciences make research on
humanoid robots based
on own developed hardware.


Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI)


As might be expec
ted, robotics research at the focuses on AI technology for robot
learning and Embodied AI. The institute is currently involved in three EU projects

where behaviour
-
based robots play an important part. Based on long
-
standing
research in machine learning and neural networks, the robot group studies behaviour
and language learning as well as developmental aspects in robotics research (recently
termed "e
pigenetic robotics"). OFAI has developed techniques for anchoring
linguistic symbols in the behavioural experience of mobile robots, studied the use of
artificial immune systems for robot control, and evaluated behavioural map
-
learning
in autonomous roboti
c systems. Students at the institute developed robot control
software and currently construct a mobile robot which is modular in hard
-

and
software.


Future work at OFAI will focus further on mobile robots, on learning systems, and in
particular on anticip
atory behaviour and the more foundational question of robot
affordances.


Automation & Control Institute


ACIN, Vienna University of Technology.


ACIN

works in

computer
-
vision for robotics and general in

mobile rob
otics.
The
objective of the research fiel
d "Vision for Automation" is to develop robust vision
systems for robotic applications (object detection and tracking, 3D vis
ion, spatio
-
temporal representa
t
ions
and prediction, advanced robotics (vision
-
based grasping
and cognitive vision) and Human
-
Machi
ne
-
Interaction.


The EU project MOVEMENT aims at the development of a MOdular VErsatile
Mobility ENhancemenT system. The core is formed by an intelligent mobile

(robotic) platform which can attach to a user definable selection of application
modules (e.g.

chair, manipulator, ICT Terminal) which are more or less
inconspicuous mainstream articles but will become powerful assistive devices when
the mobile platform attaches to them. Work is to demonstrate that cameras can
re
place the more expensive and bu
lky l
aser range scanners to navigate the platform.


The EU Project robots@home continues work in MOVEMENT to enable navigation
in home environments. With a first demonstration at a large furniture store this
project receive
d very high visibility in the media
.

T
he

task is to learn the room layout
of an apartment and to rec
ognise the main pieces of furni
ture such as tables,
cu
p
boards and sofas. Any user shall be able to operate the system via touchscreen
and/or iPOD like mobile interfaces.


The EU Project XPERO is

a Fut
u
re and Emerging Technologies research project.

It has the objective to develop robots that can learn by experimentation. The task is
to endow robots with curiosity to go out into the environment and observe and touch
objects to learn about properti
es such as movable, weight, or size. We provide the
visual capabilities for such a robot to learn to locate itself and to learn to detect
objects and their shape.


T
wo new project
s


GRASP and CogX


will

start next year
.


Department of Computer Sciences, U
niversity of Salzburg.


In the field of mobile robots

Fuz
zy Techniques in robot control verified by computer
simulation for

mobi
le robot collision avoidance and S
ensor Data Processing

are the
current research emphases
.



Further research topics are:


Logic
al Modeling of Cooperating Robot Scenarios (Logical Control):

Deployment of
the concept of Lo
gical Fiberings
. A Logical Fibering is a system of distributed logics
(a fiber bundle where each fiber is a local logical space), it can be used to model a
logical

controller for a Multiagent System (MAS), where each a
gent (robot) has an
individual
(local) logical s
tate space, a local fiber. A d
emonstrator (computer
simulation) in form of a scenario of cooperating robots has been implemented in the
frame of a form
er ESPRIT project, new work on such simulations is in progress.



Emotional Behavio
u
r of Technical Systems (e.g. Robot Agents):

In c
ooperation
with

the Institute of Forensic Neuropsychiatry, Univ. of Salzburg
. Especially c
og
nitive
methods
of interest

for f
uture service robots and
humanoid robots

are in
development
.


Activities in the interdisciplinary field of

Multiagent Systems (MAS)

are an important
part of the work. I
t comprises the topic of cooperating robots and assembly cells.
Implementation of a MAS
library for base diagram transformations is in progress.


University of Applied Sciences Wels.



In the last years various robots for national and international competitions for
autonomous robots were developed based on a modular electronic system for
aut
onomous robots and a modular software system.


Currently a robot system for the “Rescue League” of the “Robocup” is in
development. Continuing the successful participation at national and international
robot competitions e.g. 2005, 2006, 2007: Best team at

the “RobotChallenge” in
Vienna , 2007: Best European Team at the “Robogames” in San Francisco.


Current research topics are the
improve
ment of control

algorithm
s

and
electromechanical solutions for autonomous robots .


University of Applied Sciences “Tech
nikum Wien”.



The University of Applied Sciences "Technikum Wien" has run the Vienna Cubes
RoboCup Team since 2003. Every year five small, omnidriven and very fast robots
play soccer against five other robots at international events within the RoboCup
Sma
ll Size League, which has a global view and controls the robots centrally.
Therefore students work hard and rotate every year in a concept that was invented by
Technikum Wien for handling the in
-

and outflow of students in ongoing PBL
projects such as the
Vienna Cubes. This concept targets problems like losing
knowledge when students graduate, or teaching younger generations or recruiting
more students. Research results were published at several PBL conferences.
Currently, the Vienna Cubes are preparing for

the RoboCup World Championships
2009 in Graz and look forward to tying in with earlier successes, notably second
place in the European Championships in 2005 and fifth places in the World
Championships

2004 in Lisbon/Portugal, 2005 in Osaka/Japan and 2006
in
Bremen/Germany. The new system will provide some features such as embedded
Linux platforms for controlling the robots, a new stereo vision system for three
-
dimensional ball tracking and more responsive AI for better team play calculations.


The Universi
ty of Applied Sciences "Technikum Wien" is also very active in the
RoboCup community in Austria. As a lead partner of "RoboCup Austria,"

they help
young researcher from colleges to get their robotic projects up and running for the
Robocup Junior League cha
mpionships. The first event will be held at the Technical
University of Graz on 1 March 2008. Looking forward, RoboCup Austria plans an
annually event for finding the best RoboCup Junior teams in Austria to send them to
the RoboCup World Championships. The
refore we are running three RoboCup
centres in Vienna, Graz and Villach, with the numbers increasing every year. After
the very successful workshops in Graz in 2006 and 2007 in Vienna in 2007, the next
Austrian RoboCup Workshop will be held in Villach in M
ay 2008. This workshop is
a good opportunity for interested institutions or private robotic researchers to get
involved in RoboCup Austria activities.


Institute of Computer Technology


ICT , Vienna University of Technology


The EC project “Advanced Behav
io
r and High
-
Level Multimodal

Communication
with and among Robots



CommRob

will primarily advance the state of the art in
high
-
level co
m
munication with and among robots. This communication will be based
on a high
-
level discourse model d
e
rived from human
communication. Rather than
focusing on improvements of a single mode (like speech), communication will be
mult
imodal and even involve behavio
rs (like mov
e
ments and gestures) as well as
their recognition for advanced Human
-
Robot Interaction. The discourse m
odel will
serve as a basis for advanced Robot
-
Robot Interaction as well. In effect, a major
objective of this work is a un
i
fied communication approach. It will be implemented
in a software platform for
communication.


Based on this advanced approach to com
munication, both close cooperation of robots
with people and cooperating robots will be facilitated. Information exchange
amongst robots about the status of the shared environment will make the navigation
in clu
t
tered areas more efficient and sa
fe. While c
ollaborative behavio
r is important,
several other iss
ues related to advanced behavio
r of robots in dynamic environments
will be addressed as well: detection and avoi
d
ance of dynamic obstacles, self
-
localization based on landmarks, learning of a topological

map indexed by these
landmarks, as well as autonomous navigation based on topological and metrical
information. So, a major objective of this work is to tackle more complex
enviro
n
ments for robots as compared to previous work.

For showing the feasibility
of the proposed innovations, a prototype robot will be
developed in the course of this project


a robot trolley. This robot will be a
prototype for such trolleys to be used in supermarkets, airports, etc. In addition to
carrying goods and to guide a user
in a complex, structured and dynamic
environment, it will have a second function as a walking aid. This function will
support a challenged and/or elderly person to lean on the trolley while the walking
pace is controlled to follow a user
-
determined setting
.


A national research project is “
Tinyphoon
”. This

robot is a two wheeled
differentially driven (2WDD)

autonomous

mobile robot, distinguished by its
powerful, compact and modular architecture.
It

is the basis of several research
activities. Till now the f
ocus was laid on the topics of motion control and sensor
fusion, stereo visioning and self localization as well as on robot real
-
time
communication.


Höhere Technische Bundeslehranstalt Leonding (HTBLA Leonding),

Department of EDP and Organisation.


The ma
in focus

of the department is
on
education in software engineering. The
development of commercial applications
and managing a bi
-
annual project

is one of
the main
challenges

of
the

professional training
and education there
. In recent years
robot projects
h
ave
bec
o
me increasingly popular
,

especially in the fields of industrial
and autonomous robotics.


Among the projects which have been realized there are a KUKA industrial robot able
to play chess and a swarm of robot ants showing collective intelligence. I
n 2005

the
main focus switched to the field of robot soccer. This led to the
idea of setting up

an

own Robot Socce
r Team, named “Leonding Micros“.

Developing a team of five
robots for the FIRA Middle League was the main activity in this project phase.


The

soccer robots were purchased from ISS (Innovative Solutions Systems) in
cooperation with the IHRT of Vienna University of Technology whereas various
challenging software modules had to be realized by the first project team. A
production system was impleme
nted as a general framework in order to achieve
proper cooperation of all modules: A digital camera yields raw data of the robots and
the ball placed on the field.
The image processing module t
ransforms this data in
to

information about the
current position

of all participating units

and stores them in a
working memory. This information is the input to the strategy module
,

which serves
as a rule base
calculating

further actions. These proposed actions are tra
nsmitted
to
all
five

robots via radio control. The
refore, all the actions on the field a
re

determined
solely by a completely automated system.


This first project phase lasted from October 2005 to May 2007 and resulted in setting
up a system, which is able to play robot soccer in a solid way. The followin
g phases
should le
ad to the development of a compe
tit
i
ve robot soccer system participati
ng

i
n
international competitions, such as the European Championship
s

and perhaps the
World Championship
s
.


The HTBLA Leonding robot soccer project was awarded the Fred
Margulies Prize
2007 by the “International Federation of Automatic Control Austria


IFAC Beirat
Österreich” for its contributions in the field of social aspects of robotics.



Departments of HSSE and ESD, University of Applied Sciences at Hagenberg.


Th
e main research topics in the field of mobile robotics at the departments of
Hardware/Software Systems Engineering and Embedded
Systems Design are software and hardware development
for walking machines, especially six legged robots.


Currently, a mechanic
al hexapod platform with 18 degrees
of freedom of our own development is available in its third
generation. The usage of modified model aircraft servo
motors as actors in combination with light plywood parts
manufactured with a laser cutter provides for an

affordable, yet efficient, mobile robot. A worldwide
leading manufacturer of such servos and mobile robots is among the industrial
partners of the departments.


Our research's main focus lies on the hardware/software co
-
design of the embedded
control syst
em for such mobile robots in combination with the development of a user
friendly specification method for actions a user might want the robot to perform.


Currently, a hardware/software co
-
design platform named Sandbox is used as
embedded control system. T
his board provides a combination of a microcontroller
with an FPGA, thereby opening up a wide space of possibilities in the area of
hardware/software co
-
design. A second hardware platform developed at the
department enables the completely integrated design

in a system
-
on
-
chip manner.
This invites the use of advanced techniques such as the system
-
level design of digital
signal processing modules as dedicated hardware units, as for example the CORDIC
coprocessor used for the computation of the inverse kinemat
ics for the hexapod's
legs.


The embedded software may make use of an operating system such as Linux while
dedicated hardware will engage in the duties demanding hard real
-
time or even
deterministic behaviour. Further development and research will make mor
e
sophisticated actor devices, such as field controlled SMPMs, available. In addition to
further research on walking patterns and the modelling of insect locomotion, sensors
will be provided in the future to make the robot not only mobile but also
autonomo
us. Additionally, a hierarchical real
-
time bus system adopted from the
automotive CAN and LIN specifications will provide exchangeability of different
actor and sensor modules.


Accompanying research activities on GUI
-
based PC software aim at making the
r
obots programmable by a user without in
-
depth system knowledge. A 3D simulation
software based on the combination of a physics engine as well as a game graphics
engine, a timeline motion editor, and an animatronics editor with stop and go motion
capabiliti
es is currently being developed. This software will additionally provide
scripting capabilities as well as timeline sequencing. Creating a prototype for the
development of ergonomic and easy
-
to
-
use user interfaces to mobile robots is this
project's main go
al.


User/robot interaction is another focus of our research activities. The Austrian
Hexapod Challenge held yearly at the University site in Hagenberg since 2006
enables young people

hopefully the architects of robotics in the not
-
so
-
far future

to gain t
heir first experiences with robots. In 2008, over 30 Teams will bring their
hexapod robots to Hagenberg to find out who did the best job in preparing and
programming them for the Race and Dance disciplines.


Intelligent Handling and Robotics


IHRT, Vienna

University of Technology


The "Multi
-
Agent
-
System" is a research activity at the IHRT, because it has a high
potential in application as service robots and future applications in industry.


For the possible industrial application of MAS we apply the conc
epts in one case to
the behavior for "
soccer playing robots"
. To facilitate the construction of an own
Robot Soccer Team the institute offers self developed robots in cooperation with the
company ISS (Innovative Systems Solutions). Currently the third gen
eration of these
mini robots is in development (Han 2003).



While designing the hardware there was put special emphasis on implementing an
open architecture. Therefore this robot can not only be deployed as a traditional
soccer robot, but furthermore ser
ve as a mobile platform forming the basis for
various test applications of Multi Agent Systems. Two mostly applied concepts
connected for MAS, the artificial neural networks and the fuzzy algorithms. A
current research topic is the development of neuro and

neuro
-
fuzzy algorithms to
navigate mobile robots in
-

and outdoor environments. For practical oriented research
three mobile robots („
Nomad 200
“, „
Maxifander
“ and
“Pioneer”
) are available at
IHRT.


The project “Roby Space” supported by “esa


European Spac
e Agency” and “ASA
-

Austrian Space Agency” is a spin off from robotsoccer. Based on the soccer
minirobots a new generation of minirobots was developed able to crawl on a mesh in
outer space (Kopacek 2005). The test flight at the Uchinoura Space Center in J
apan
in January 2006 was very successful.


Another project is dealing with robots for “Humanitarian Demining” (Kopacek
2004). The concept of robot swarms


for detection, removal and transportation


is
currently in realization based on the six wheeled rob
ot


HUMI (see Chapter 2.4.2.)


For a small sized Austrian company the intelligent control of a parquet floor grinding
robot



Woody



was realized.


Currently running is the
realisation of

a prototype of the lower part (knee, ankle, hip)
of a humanoid

robot called “Archie” a
nd to develop
a concept for the upper part
(body, arms, head) based on existing and new
theories
. Archie should be able to
serve as a “personal robot” for everyday life


working and leisure


and fulfil some
useful functions in a “
real environment”. Furthermore “Archie” should be fully
autonomous and available to a reasonable market price

(see chapter 2.4.3 )
.


Department of Mathematics, University of Innsbruck.


The main focus of the team is Reinforcement Learning. New methods in m
ulti
-
criteria and multi
-
environment learning have been proposed and tested with
the

small
miniature robot Khepera
. A
grid world
simulator and
a
visualization
tool for
the
robot ha
ve

been implemented, additionally to a Maple package for
Markov decision
proc
esses
. Since the foundation of the new
Department of Computer Science

in 2001
some researchers and st
udents have joined the project and are
working
on

open
source software to control the robot. Several events including presentations of Lego
robots, robot s
occer, industrial robots and miniature robots
have been organized
to
raise
the
p
ublic understanding of science.
http://mathematik.uibk.ac.at/users/rl
.


Institute of
Mechanics and Mechanisms
, Technical
University of Graz.


For walking machines, the institute is currently adapting an anthropomorphic leg
mechanism for a two
-
legged and two
-
wheeled vehicle. The project involves the
model
l
ing and simulation of the kinema
t
ics and the dynamics of the vehicle,
i
ncluding non
-
holonomic constraints, impact mecha
n
ics and closed
-
loop kinematics,
the design and implementation of an appropriate control scheme, using feedback
-
linearization, and the building of a scaled model using stepper motors.
The final goal

of the pr
oject is to build a suitable vehicle platform for excavators to be used in
uneven, flooded or steep terrain.


In the realm of bio
-
mechanics, the institute is pursuing to build a miniature parallel
platform which is suitable for use as a physical simulator

of the inter
-
vertebral
motion (involving in this setting the vertebrae pair C5
-
C6). The project involves
model
l
ing and simulation of the inter
-
vertebral motion, design of a suitable parallel
platform
, and design of
appropriate control software.


Institute

for Robotics, Johannes Kepler University of Linz.


The Institute for Robotics is mainly working in two areas:





Mobile Robots: wheeled platforms with robot arms for grasping objects



Walking Machines: two legged and six legged robots


Modeling and control

of mobile robots: Several mobile platforms moving on planar
surfaces under nonholonomic constraints are considered. Exact feedback
-
linearization methods in combination with linear control theory and nonlinear
observers for state
-
space estimation are used
to control the different kinematic and
kinetic mathematical models. To verify the theoretical results of this work in
laboratory and industrial environment, a four
-
steering
-
wheel mobile robot was
developed at the department. In cooperation with VA

TMS some

of these control
structures will be tested under industrial conditions.


Development and construction of a biped: The goal of this research project is to
develop a 14 degree
-
of
-
freedom two
-
legged machine, which is able to move
statically and/or dynamicall
y stable on several surfaces, e.g. walking on a plane, stair
climbing upwards and downwards. Different gait generators, control structures and
stability analyses are calculated and tested in numerical simulations and experiments
with the biped which was co
nstructed within this project. A main part of the project
is to work out efficient new algorithms for dynamical multibody simulations with
contact. Another goal is the development of a six legged walking machine which is
also able to drive by wheels. Depen
ding on the surface the walking machine decides,
if it is, possible to drive with high speed or to walk slowly, e.g. to climb over
obstacles.

Walking assistance: A new research project of the department started recently and is
dealing with servomotor contr
olled legged robot for people who have suffered a
major loss of muscle control.



Institute for Software Technology, Graz University of Technology
.


The ma
in research topics
in the field of autonomous mobile robots

are
software
de
velopment for mobile robot
s and
abstract symbol
-
based robot control systems.

The important aspects of software de
velopment for mobile robots are
the
development of open, flexible a
nd reusable software frameworks
for mobile robots,
the optimizat
ion of the software development
proces
s and the improvement of the
robustness of the software by

application of model
-
based

diagnosis and
reconfiguration.
Furthermore, IST does research on

the application of qualitative
approaches to robot control, like c
lassic planning and qualitative
reasoni
ng.

IST hosts and leads the RoboCup Midd
le
-
Size Team of Graz University
of
Technology 'Mostly Harmless', which successf
ully participated several times in
RoboCup competitions
. The robots have

been designed, custom
-
built
and
programmed by grade and PhD stud
ent
s. Research interest in RoboCup
include
symbolic robot contr
ol, MDB for robot applications,
sensor
-
fusion, localization,
multi
-
robo
t cooperation and service robot
applications.


Moreover, IST works in cooperation with University of Ulm

on
MIRO, an open

software fr
amework for robot applications.
Currently, the institute uses four custom
-
build

RoboCup Middle
-
Size robots and
two fully equipped Pioneer (one indoor and
one outdoor
version) for
research and teach
ing.


Carinthia University of Applied Sciences


The

humanoid

robot is based on a distributed system architecture, consisting of a
Single Board Computer and several microcontroller
-
units. Multiple sensors provide
feedback information about the robots state and perceive the environment. Twelve
DC motors
with gear boxes are used to actuate the joints of the robot. The robot is
able to balance on one leg and to walk in a stable manne
r on flat and hard
underground
in a stable manner. One single step is executed in approximately five
seconds. Furthermore it i
s
able to locate and kick a ball
.

The robot can be operated in two different ways. The first option is to use a mode
switch, which is located on the robot's torso. The second option is the usage of a
remote control program, which communicates with the robo
t's Single Board
Computer via Wireless LAN (WLAN). This program allows

wireless control of the
robot.
To obtain important status information of the robot a small display and a
telemetry
-
program are used.

The display is connected to the CPU and mo
unted on
the robot's torso.

The telemetry
-
program is implemented as a LabView program and can be executed
on an external PC. The data transfer between CPU and telemetry
-
program is again
performed via WLAN. Important data of the system, such as information about the

different connected units, the current and desired joint angles of all joints, data of the
different sensors, etc. can
be monitored with this program.


PROFACTOR Research and Solutions GmbH,

Advanced Service Robotics (ASR).


Research in the area of mobile

robotics is mainly grouped around the
E
C
-
FP6

research project “MOVEMENT”



see ACIN. The responsibility of ASR includes
development of robot navigation,
sensor development

as well as development of

application modules



ASR also is responsible for the ove
rall technical management
of the project
.



Austrian Research Centres GmbH,

ARC Smart Systems Team.


The smart s
ystems Division (SSD) main focus in robotics is the development and
improvement of reliable stereo vision sensor systems. These sensing devices

are
usually customer
-
specific embedded vision devices, which are real
-
time capable.
Applications for these sensors are for example autonomous systems and indoor
service robots. Reference projects, where our stereo sensors have been used, include
autonomou
s robots racing in competitions (DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 und
DARPA Urban Challenge 2007) as well as a new indoor service robotics platform
(EU
-
funded project robots@home)



see ACIN
.


SSD developed an Embedded Stereo Vis
i
on Sensor
-

the intelligent eyes



for the
vehicle of the SciAutonics team which took part at the DARPA Grand Challenge
2005. The main task of the stereo vision sensor was obstacle detection in front of the
autonomous vehicle in the range of 5
-

20m. The purpose of the obstacle detection

algorithm was to identify a distance to a detected obstacle, for each direction in the
field of view parallel to the surface of the road. The resolution in horizontal direction
was 0.5°, the viewing field extended horizontally 20° to each side of the forw
ard
direction of the vehicle. The cycle time of the detection algorithm was 100ms.


T
he smart systems team supplied

the SciAutonics / Auburn Engineering team for the
DARPA Urban Challenge 2007 race with a real time
-
capable sensor system designed
to extract

lane marker information and to

detect obstacles. The sensor was

based on a
real time
-
capable e
mbedded vision platform which was

an improvement of the
Stereo Vision Sensor used in the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005. The algorithms for
detecting obstacles allow

obstacles and moving objects t
o be identified. The vehicle
had

to be able to react quickly to obstacles in order to avoid collision. Furthermore,
algorithms for lane e
xtraction and classification were

used. The

achieved

cycle ti
me
of the detection algorit
hm was

less than 125ms.


In the
EU
-
funded project robots@home
the SSD

part is the realization of a
dependable embedded vision system for service robotics applications. A needed low
cost system to deliver multi
-
modal data for detecting and classifying the s
tructures
and object classes is to be developed.


Schiebel Corporation, Vienna.


The CAMCOPTER® S
-
100 is a highly versatile, autonomous Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (UAV) system developed to provide a unique balance between advanced
capabilities and operation i
n tactical environments. The system consists of a compact
helicopter aerial vehicle that can be fitted with a wide variety of payloads tailored to
meet diverse user requirements. The basic specification parameters are as follows:


Autonomy



fully autonomo
us takeoff waypoint navigation

and landing

Navigation



redundant INS and GPS

Power source



55 HP rotary engine

Data/video link


fully digital, compressed video (up to four

simultaneous feeds)

Typical D/L range


80/180 km (43/97 nm)

Dash speed



120 kts

Cruise speed



55 kts (for best endurance)

Endurance



6 hours with 25 kg (55 lbs) payload

Maximum payload


50 kg (110 lbs)

MTO weight



200 kg (440 lbs)

Empty weight



100 kg (220 lbs)

Max. sizes



3110 mm (122“) length





1040 mm (41“) height





1240 m
m (49“) width

Main rotor diameter


3400 mm (133.9”)


S
-
100 is a vertical take
off and landing (VTOL) system that eliminates the need for
launch and recovery equipment. The aerial vehicle can be programmed to fly an
autonomous mission profile via a simple p
oint
-
and
-
click graphical user interface, or
can be directed manually. In both modes, the aerial vehicle is automatically
stabilized via redundant Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). Navigation is
accomplished using redundant Global Positioning System (GPS)
receivers. It is
designed to minimize the
need for operator training
features integrated checklists and
numerous fail
-
safe mechanisms to reduce the risk of damage due to operator error.


2.3

Patents


A clearly statement can be given i
n the field of patents. Fi
gure 2
.1 shows the number
of patents that are published in Austria, sorted by year.




Fig.2
.1

Number of patents per year


The total number of published patents in Austria is quite low


in average 6.3/year.
There is an increase in the last years, but it

can not significantly be said that this
trend holds.


The patent applicants for Austria in the field of robotic are mostly international
companies (~80%) like Kuka, ABB, Comau, Siemens, etc. followed by Austrian
companies. In Austria, the Voest Alpine, Ke
ba and Ferrobotics can be named as
patent holders. There are also some single persons that protect there robotic ideas by
patents.


2.4


Research funding


There are some different funding sources for robotic research. At one hand there is
the European Union wi
th its Framework Programmes and there are the national
funding sources like FFG, FWF,… The first part of this section addresses the
activities of the Framework Programmes of the European Union, while the second
part describes some national research program
mes. As an example in the third part
the results of a US study are presented and shortly discussed.


2.4.1

EU
-

projects


Main topics of the fifth and sixth

EU

framework programme

are:


F
ramework
P
rogramme
5



Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources



Use
r
-
friendly Information Society



Competitive and Sustainable Growth



Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development



Improving Human Research Potential and the Socio
-
Economic Base



Research and Training in the Field of Nuclear Energy


F
ramework
P
rogramme
6



Lif
e sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health



Information society technologies



Nanotechnologies and nano
-
sciences, knowledge
-
based multifunctional
materials and new production processes and devices



Aeronautics and space



Food quality and safety



Sustaina
ble development, global change and ecosystems



Citizens and governance in a knowledge
-
based society


These topics do not really coincide with the research in robotics. This is more a part
of Framework Programme 7, see e.g. ACIN.
In FP 7

Cognitive systems, i
nteraction,
roboti
cs is included.

In the sixth framework programme there is only one project (MOVEMENT) with
Austrian involvement.

The MOVEMENT project aimed at the development of a modular versatile mobility

enhancement technology. The core is formed by
an intelligent mobile (robotic)
platform which

can attach to a user definable selection of application modules (e.g.
chair, manipulator,

information and communication terminal) which are more or less
inconspicuous mainstream

articles but will become powerf
ul assistive devices when
the mobile platform attaches to them.

Project Aims:

The last decade saw the evolution of more and more complex wheelchairs
demonstrating capabilities for navigation, manipulation and transport. However,
theses systems never made i
t to commercialisation, since they are bulky and difficult
to operate. They need to be engineered for each individual human and are still all in
all very costly.

Recognizing the drawbacks, MOVEMENT aims at developing a new solution for
supporting personal

mobility which meets the users' expectations for an
inconspicuous, non
-
stigmatising, tailorable, ready to use and affordable mobility aid.
As a consequence, the objectives of the project are:



Addressing all three aspects of mobility (moving people, objec
ts and
information) by a fully modular set of assistive devices that can be freely
assembled depending on the user's needs.



Providing a concrete solution which can be placed on the assistive technology
market soon after completion of the project.



Pursuin
g an active dissemination and demonstration strategy by which users,
care
-
givers and the health system is informed about the product under
development, leading to awareness creation on an European level.




Project Partners (only Austrian partners):



forte
c
-

Research Group on Rehabilitation Technology at
Vienna University
of Technology



Automation and Control Institute at Vienna University

of Technology



PROFACTO
R
-

Research and Solutions GmbH




Rehabilitation & Inclusion


MR
I” at Austrian Research Ce
ntre
s GmbH


ARC


2.4.2

National Projects


As pointed out earlier most of the robotic related projects are founded by the
“Austrian Science Fund


FWF” and the

“Austrian Research Promotion Agency
-

FFG”



FWF projects


In the following all the FWF founded projec
ts in the last 10 years are listed with the
percentage of robot oriented research


Title








from


to


%
robotics


Navigation of an autonomous mobile robots


1998
-

2001



30

Portime II






1999


2001



25

Intelligent, co
operative multi agent system
s


1999


2001



40

3D
-
Dynamics of elasto
-
plastic robots


2001
-

2005



30

Fusion of ster
eovision and inertial sensors


2002


2005



20

Design and Verification o
f
control
-

and tracking


algorithms

for mobile minirobot systems


2004


2006



50

Time contr
olled communication architecture

for robot

systems





2005


2008



30

Sensor systems for structure and health monitoring


2008


2010



15

Model based control of
rec
onfigur
able mobile robots
2007


2010



30


Most of the projects are dealing only less th
an 50% with robotics.


FFG (FFF) projects


The former “Found for application oriented research


FFF” was merged with the
FFG.

In the EUREKA
Umbrella project E! 1440 FACTORY

an European net
work was
created. The goal was the generation of innovative projects in the field of produc
tion
a
nd

process automation. In some of these projects robotics is also included.

In this framework some other projects were founded more or less related to robotics

e.g. “Woody”


see chapter 4.1.2.9.


Other funding sources


There are some other funding sources in Austria e.g. Departments of Ministries
(Ministry for “Transportation, Innovation and Technology


BMVIT”), Departments
of local governments,…. There are al
so several cooperation projects between
University and research institutes and the local industry.


2.5


Robot Industry


To get an overview on producers of robots and components of robots a list with most
of the companies, research and University institutes

involved in the Austrian robotics
industry were created by experience, Internet search and personal discussions.
Companies with a branch or representative in Austria were listed as Austrian
companies.




The companies and institutions are divided in two m
ain categories:


1.

Producers (P)

2.

System Integrators (SI)


System integrators are companies which are combining
component
s and

subsystems

from different producers to a robot
system

accordin
g to the demands of the customer.
In some cases system integrators are also producers of components
.


The robot producers are furthermore classified in the four main fields: industrial
robots, mobile robots, software producer and humanoid robots.


Further
more in the field of industrial robots producers of the following components
and subtasks are listed:





Handling devices



Robots



Controllers



Clamping devices



Transportation devices and systems



Sensors



Vision systems



Simulation tools



Programming



Application
s


Producers of mobile robots are arranged as follows:





Robots



Sensors



Vision


Sensors and vision systems included in this category are especially for mobile robots.
On the other hand components listed under industrial robots can also be used for
mobile
robots.


Software for



Control and



Navigation

is also dedicated to mobile robots.


These terms correspond with the ÖStat. (Classifications of Statistics Austria) as
follows:

Robotics (2234), robot technology (2540), controllers (2509) and (2510), navigation

(2550), mechatronics (2236), (1129), (1241), 2541).


Humanoid robots are currently the most “advanced” robots and are using special and
some of all the components indicated above.


Table 2
.1. shows a list of Universities and Universities of Applied Scienc
es working
in the field of robotics according to the classification mentioned above.


Resea
rch centres are listed in Tab. 2
.
2. and companies in Tabs. 2.3. and 2
.4.





Table 2
.1. Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences



Table 2.
2. Research Ce
ntre
s



Table 2
.3. Companies



Part 1



Table 2
.4. Companies


Part 2

Remarks:

For companies it is nearly impossible to find out how many employees work in the
field of robotics. They can not afford to publish real numbers of employees, financial
volume
of research, partners. The reasons are secrecy aspects and advantages in
competition. What surely is published is the volume of sal
es (turnover) finding in
Tabs. 2.3 and 2
.4. This numbers are assigned to the year 2006 deriving from internet
investigations
(
www.firmenabc.at
). These numbers are only an indication for the size
of a company but not for the size of robot departments. One of the reasons is the
inclusion of companies producing only components for robot and/
or robot
applications.



For the universities, universities of applied sciences and research centres there are
more data available. The crucial points for this field are a little bit different than for
companies: number of employees, scientific partners,
industrial partners, publications
per year and patents in the last 10 years (eventually in co
-
operation with industrial
partners). From t
he listed institutions of Tab. 2.1 and 2
.2 (total number 26) the data
form 22 are included in the evaluation of

Tab. 2
.5.



Employees

Scientific
partners

Industrial
partners

Publications /
Year

Patents in
the last 10
years

Total
Values

119,0

144,0

257,0

152,0

20,0

Mean
Values

5,7

6,9

12,3

7,2

0.9


Table 2
.5.
Evaluation: employees, partners, publications, patents


It ca
n be seen that the number of employees is quite high in consideration of the fact
that the support by the government is quite low. There is a huge amount of scientific
and industrial partners. There is also a high output of publications. It is no surprise
that the quantity of patents is low. This is due to the fact that the task of these centres
is mainly in the research and publication and not in patents.

Selected robotic publications from Austria are attached as Annex I
.


2.6

Statistical Analysis


2.6.1

Universitie
s and Universities of Applied Sciences


In Table 2
.1., 19 Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences are listed. These
are first divided in the main fields of application.




Table 2
.6
. Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences
-

total


In
the following, the main fields (Industrial Robots, Mobile Robots, Software and
Humanoids)

in the subsections from Table 2
.1.are divided:

Industrial Robots:





Table 2
.7
. Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences


Industrial Robots


Mobile Robots
:




Table 2
.8
. Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences


Mobile Robots


Software:




Table 2
.9
. Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences


Software


Humanoids:




Table 2
.
10
. Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences


Humano
ids


2.6.2

Research Centre
s


7 Resear
ch Centres are listed in Table 2
.2. The work in industrial robots, mobile
robots and software is nearly the same. No one works in the

field of humanoids, see
Table 2
.9.




Table 2
.11
.
Research Centres



total


The main field
s are again divided in the subsections:


Industrial Robots:




Table 2
.12
.
Research Centres


Industrial Robots


Mobile Robots:




Table 2
.13
.
Research Centres



Mobile Robots


Software:




Table 2
.14
.
Research Centres



Software


Humanoids:




Table 2
.
15
.
Research Centres


Humanoids


2.6

Industry


There are 57 Indus
trial robot producers in Table 2.3 and 2.4. From Table 2
.16 it can
be seen, that nearly every Factory deals with Industrial Robots (96%), while only
some specialized users deal with mobile robots

and software. Again no work is done
in the field of humanoids.




Table 2
.16
.
Industry

-

total


A sectioning of the mai
n fields from Table 2.16 delivers Tables 2.17


2
.20.




Industrial Robots:




Table 2
.17
.
Industry



Industrial Robots


Mobile Robots
:




Table 2
.18
.
Industry



Mobile Robots


Software:




Table 2
.19
.
Industry



Software


Humanoids:




Table 2
.20
.
Industry



Humanoids


3

Summary


In the following an analysis of the evaluated data is done.

Figure 3.1

shows the absolute amount of instit
utions working in the specified field of
robotics from total 19 universities and universities of applied sciences, 7 research
centres and 57 industrial robot producers or system integrators.



Fig. 3,1
. Absolute val
u
es of institutions working in the spec
ified fields of robotics.


For
a better interpretation Fig.3.2

shows the percentage of the institution working in
the listed field of robotics. It is clear that nearly 100 percent of the industry deals
with industrial robots.




Fig. 3.2
.
V
al
u
es of insti
tutions working in the specified fields of robotics

in percent
.


There is also a quite high amount of universities that do their research in industrial
robots. A main reason for this is that nowadays the manufacturing lines have to get
faster and faster. S
o the mass of the robots has to be decreased and therefore the
robots get elastic. For modeling and control purposes this is a very high sophisticated
goal to reach.



The quite new area of service robotics is mainly done by universities and research
centr
es combining the fields of mobile robots, software and humanoids. Here the
industrial part is really low.

At the moment there is no really industrial application or service robotic application
where mandatory humanoids have to be used. However walking wit
h two legs is a
really difficult task for machines. That is the reason, why only universities and
universities of applied sciences work in this highly sophisticated area.


Figures 3.3 to 3.5

show more detailed diagrams for industrial robots, mobile robots
,
and software.




Fig. 3.3
.

Sectioning of industrial robots in percent


In Fig.3,3

it can be seen that industry is more active in handling, robots, controllers,
programming and applications. The research centres have their maximum in sensors,
vision and

simulation. For universities, simulation is the main field.



Fig. 3.4
. Sectioning of mobile robots in percent


The activities of the industry in the field of mobile robotics are low. These are
mainly Automated Guided Vehicles


AGV´s for transportation
purposes. Mobile
robots are one of the bases of the service robotics. However, nowadays the industry
does not focus on this future area.




Fig. 3.5
.

Sectioning of software in percent


Concluding remark: Austria is quite good represented in the field of r
obotics.
Companies work in all fields of industrial robots


but mostly as system integrators.
There are only few of robot producers in Austria. Only 3 of these companies deal
with mobile robots and none with humanoids. In contrast to this, Universities an
d
research centres work in nearly all of the listed topics (industrial robots, mobile
robots, software and humanoids). The research for industrial robots is mainly done in
making robots more lightweight and faster to speed up manufacturing lines. A lot of
work is also done in an enhancement of human machine interface. Future topics like
humanoid robots and mobile robots like unmanned vehicles are currently almost
handled at universities.


Referencies:

International Federation of Robotics ( IFR, 2007): World

Robotics 2007. IFR
Statistical Department, Frankfurt, 2007.


Kopacek, P. and J. Gattringer ( 2008 )
: Robotics in Austria


Potential Study.
Austrian Ministry for Transportation, Innovation and Technology


Contract
:
BMVIT, GZ 603.034/0045
-

III/15/2007
.