Recently in field robots Category

TUT-RIM: Collaborative Intelligent Heavy Machinery and Robotics

From Eero Heinänen

The TUTRIM project was motivated by the possibilities to increase productivity and safety at worksites by using autonomous mobile robots. With cooperation between four departments of Tampere University of Technology (Intelligent Hydraulics and Automation, Automation Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Systems, Signal Processing) we implemented an unsupervised, autonomous multi-robot worksite in the domain of civil engineering.

The main task was to get the independent, autonomous and heterogeneous robots to cooperate to achieve a common goal in a partially known environment. For this purpose ROS was a reasonable choice as it enables different communication types to be used and it acts as an abstraction layer in the message exchange between dissimilar robots. Also, we used ROS Industrial to integrate one industrial robot to the system. Other components of the worksite are a wheel loader, a micro aerial vehicle and a kinect-based localization system at the industrial robot station.

For more information please see: http://vision.cs.tut.fi/projects/tutrim/index.html

From Clearpath Robotics

Clearpath Robotics, a leading provider of mobile robotic platforms for research and development, announced the release of Warthog - a large, amphibious, all-terrain mobile robot designed for application development. Warthog enables researchers to reliably test, validate, and advance their robotics research faster than ever before in real world conditions, whether on land or in water.

"ARGO XTR (Xtreme Terrain Robotics) has a terrific record of manufacturing rock-solid outdoor platforms," says Julian Ware, General Manager for Research Solutions at Clearpath Robotics. "Combined with our expertise in robotics, we've developed rugged platform suitable for a wide range of robotics applications in mining, agriculture, forestry, space, and environmental monitoring."

Warthog's light-weight aluminum chassis, low ground pressure, passive suspension system, and 24" traction tires allow it to easily traverse a variety of tough terrains including soft soils, thick muds and steep grades, all while carrying up to 272 kg of payload. With built-in bilge pumps and an IP rating of 67, Warthog is fully weather-proof and amphibious, capable of moving through deep waterways at up to 4 km/h, or travel at speeds of up to 18 km/h while on land. The all-electric, skid steer platform has expandable power allowing for a runtime of 6 hrs, and can be outfitted with quad tracks for ultimate traction and maneuverability in snow and sand.

"ARGO XTR is excited to partner with a progressive robotics company like Clearpath with our platform," says Jason Scheib, ARGO XTR Robotics Program Director. "The combination of our proven experience in amphibious and extreme terrain environments with our platforms with the progressive software and sensor integration from Clearpath Robotics, has created a second to none solution for a myriad of research and commercial applications."

Designed for end-to-end integration and customization, Warthog includes an internal computer, IMU, wheel encoders, and mounting racks, as well as accessible user power and communication ports for integrating sensors, manipulators, and other third-party hardware. Warthog is shipped with the Robot Operating System (ROS) preconfigured and a Gazebo simulation model, allowing researchers to get started quickly with existing research and widely available open-source ROS libraries.

For more information, visit www.clearpathrobotics.com/warthog-ugv

Husqvarna Research Platform

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From Stefan Grufman via ros-users@

We would like to announce support for ROS into some of our products. We will be showing this at ICRA 2016 (in Stockholm) during the 16/5 to 20/5.

Husqvarna Group has been manufacturing and selling robotic lawn mowers for more than 20 years. These robots are pretty basic when it comes to sensors and intelligence but we are of course researching how these products will be changed for the future. We have spent a some time doing internal research but in order for us to better work with you (the real researchers!) we have now adapted our robot (Automower 330X) to ROS by exposing an interface and implementing a driver for this (the driver will be available as open source soon). We really like the trend in robotics research towards robustness and long term autonomy. This is an area where we think we can help/boost the research by making our hardware available to researchers.

The idea is that we have a very robust & safe robot that will operate 24/7 in all weather conditions (except Scandinavian winter). It has a safety system (collision, lift and the loop around your area) and it will automatically return to the charging station when charging is needed. There are also plenty of space to include your own set of sensors as well as computational power, both inside the chassis as well as outside. We can provide mechanical drawings of mounts that you can print out on an SLS/SLA machine.

So, the offer to you is to get access to this, we call it the Husqvarna Research Platform (HRP), and use it as an outdoor mobile robotics platform for your research. If you need/like, the safety system can be used to run multiple battery cycles without need to handle docking/charging. This could for example be used when collecting data sets over long periods of time. The HRP also supports manual mode, and in this case you have full control of the motors (through the "/cmd_vel" topic) and can do whatever you need. You can mount extra computing power (we usually use an Odroid XU4) and/or sensors of your choice.

The platform will be presented and demoed by Husqvarna as well as one of our research partners, Örebro Univeristy (AASS) during ICRA 2016. We will have a booth at the ICRA expo and would like to invite you all to come and talk with us there. During ICRA 2016, we will also take ideas for your research ideas and hand out the mower shown at the demo to the best idea!

Husqvarna Group information can be found here: http://www.husqvarnagroup.com/en

Information on our robotic products can be found here: http://www.husqvarna.com/uk/products/robotic-lawn-mowers/

Erle Robotics brain and vehicles

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From Víctor Mayoral Vilches of Erle Robotics via ros-users@

Hi everyone,

I'd like to introduce Erle-Brain (https://erlerobotics.com/blog/product/erle-brain/) Linux autopilot, a ROS-powered embedded computer that allows to build different kind of drones and robots.

Using Erle-Brain we've build several vehicles (Erle-Copter, Erle-Plane, Erle-Rover, ...) displayed at http://wiki.ros.org/Robots and we keep exploring new paths. The brain runs the APM software autopilot (in Linux) which connects with ROS through the mavros bridge allowing to control the robots simply publishing to ROS topics.

This ROS package (https://github.com/erlerobot/ros_erle_takeoff_land) shows a simple example on how to autonomously take off and land a VTOL powered by Erle-Brain.

We are really excited to see what people can do with our Brain and vehicles so we've decided to launch a program that offers discounts for educational and research purposes called dronEDU (dronedu.es).
Feel free to get in touch with us if you are interested.

University of Costa Rica Explores Aerospace Research

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Clearpath Robotics announces the use of their Husky in Costa Rica

Martinez1.jpg

Dr. Geovanni Martinez from the University of Costa Rica has developed a novel visual odometer algorithm for accurate and more efficient tracking of Mars rover navigation. Dr. Martinez is utilizing Clear path Robotics' Husky to test and validate the algorithm that uses one-stage maximum-likelihood estimation, rather than traditional two-stage algorithms.


"It's fantastic to witness breakthrough research of this nature, and to know that it is being validated and furthered because of our mobile robotic platform," said Matt Rendall, Chief Executive Officer at Clearpath Robotics.


Dr. Martinez' team is creating a real time image acquisition system consisting of three IEEE-1394 cameras. The system is being developed under Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS, ROS Fuerte and the programing language C". The image acquisition system corrects, in real time, the radial and tangential distortions due to the camera lens. With regard to the hardware, Dr. Martinez commented, "We like Husky A200 because the software for image acquisition, and driving the robot, was easy to implement using ROS. It saved us a lot of development time. Additionally, it is strong enough to be driven in extreme environments."


Using the algorithm, the rover's motion will be estimated by maximizing the conditional probability of the frame to frame intensity differences at the observation points. The conditional probability is computed by expanding the intensity signal by a Taylor series and neglecting the nonlinear terms. This results in the well-known optical flow constraint, as well as using a linearized 3D observation point position transformation, which transforms the 3D position of an observation point before motion into its 3D position after motion given the rover's motion parameters. Perspective projection of the observation points into the image plane and zero-mean Gaussian stochastic intensity errors at the observation points are also assumed.

A New Robot Joins the ROS Community

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Over the past few years ROS has grown incredibly fast. ROS support now exists
for a wide range of robots, such as manipulators, UAV's, surface vessels, ground
vehicles, humanoids, and many more. With Clearpath Robotics' introduction of
Grizzly, a whole new category of robots is added to ROS: the Robotics Utility
Vehicle.

grizzly_ros.jpeg

Designed for the most aggressive of agriculture, mining and defense robotics
research programs, Grizzly is an ATV-sized robotic platform built to perform
like a tractor with the precision of an industrial robot. It can pull a plow, carry
a massive 600 kg payload, and mount a wide range of standard utility vehicle
accessories.

Grizzly is a ROS-native robot, allowing users to pull from a huge resource of
information and code, as well as cooperate with a fast growing community of
experts. Using ROS also allows code to be ported from one robot to another,
enabling you to take your lab research into the field quickly and easily.

Grizzly is aptly named. This bot is equipped with an extremely powerful drivetrain
delivering a maximum drawbar pull of 6300 N (1400 lbf). It can survive the
toughest tests, providing modularity while maintaining the rugged and robust
design, which has become a Clearpath trademark. With 26" all-terrain tires and
an oscillating front axle, Grizzly can conquer large obstacles with all four wheels
securely on the ground. It also offers top of the line control system performance.
Independent high power DC motors with individual closed loop control give fine
control even in the toughest terrain, while high resolution encoders and an array
of internal sensors provide detailed feedback on the robot's state.



ROS welcomes Grizzly to the community!

If you're looking for more information, check out the Clearpath Robotics Grizzly
website.

Weeding in organic orchards is a tedious process done either mechanically or by weed burning. Researchers at University of Southern Denmark and Aarhus University created the ASuBot (Aarhus and Southern Denmark University Robot), a self-driving tractor, to handle navigate around trees in organic orchards. Weeding is done using gas burners that the ASuBot makes sure is not damaging the trees.

ASuBot is built on a Massey Fergusson 38-15 garden tractor outfitted with a SICK laser range finder and Topcon AES-25 steering. It is able to navigate autonomously without the use of GPS antennas, which would not work under shaded trees and would also make the robot more costly.

The FroboBox, the ASuBot's on-board computer, is a Linux-powered computer running the FroboMind software that runs on top of ROS. FroboMind provides a common, conceptual architecture for field robots and has already been integrated with five different platforms.

For more information about ASuBot and FroboMind, please see fieldrobot.dk.

Robots Using ROS: CSIRO's Bobcat

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csiro_bobcat.jpg

CSIRO's Bobcat is a S185 skid-steerer, complete with lift arms. This heavy duty outdoor robot enables CSIRO robots to interact with an environment, rather than just move through it. In order to do this, they have equipped the bobcat with a variety of sensors, including two horizontal lasers, a spinning laser, camera, two IMUs, GPS, wheel encoders, and more. They also plan on integrating stereo, Velodyne, multi-modal radar, hyper spectral, and other sensors.

CSIRO's current focus with the bobcat is shared and cooperative autonomy. With shared autonomy, a human tele-operator can intervene and provide corrections as the bobcat performs a task. With cooperative autonomy, the bobcat can leverage robots with other capabilities. This sort of coordination could enable a fleet of bobcats to autonomously excavate an area.

CSIRO is in the process of migrating the Bobcat to ROS. The Bobcat was originally developed using DDX (Dynamic Data eXchange). DDX is a third generation middleware developed by CSIRO and provides features, like shared memory data exchange, that are complementary to ROS. They will continue using DDX for low-level realtime control, but sensor drivers and higher level code are being migrated to ROS. They are also investigating adding DDX-like transports to ROS.

Find this blog and more at planet.ros.org.


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