Projects


SFB/TR-8 - Spatial Cognition

Spatial Cognition is concerned with the acquisition, organization, utilization and revision of knowledge about spatial environments, be it real or abstract, human or machine. Research issues range from the investigation of human spatial cognition to mobile robot navigation. The goal of the SFB/TR 8 is to investigate the cognitive foundations for human-centered spatial assistance systems. The SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition comprises several projects which are structured into the three research areas Reasoning, Action, and Interaction. Reasoning projects are concerned with internal and external representations of space and with inference processes using these representations. Action projects are concerned with the acquisition of information from spatial environments and with actions and behavior in these environments. Interaction projects are concerned with communication about space by means of language and maps.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard, Cyrill Stachniss

muFly

Autonomous micro flying robots combine a large variety of technological challenges and are therefore an excellent showcase for leading edge micro/nano technologies and their integration with information technology towards a fully operational intelligent micro-system. This project proposes, therefore, the development and implementation of the first fully autonomous micro helicopter comparable in size and weight to a small bird. The key challenges of the project include innovative concepts for power sources, sensors, actuators, navigation and helicopter design and their integration into a very compact system. The envisaged fully autonomous micro-helicopter will weight less than 30g and measure only 10cm in diameter. The project shall develop and demonstrate innovative approaches and technologies in:
(1) system level design and optimization of autonomous micro aerial vehicles,
(2) multifunctional use of components (integration of camera and distance sensor, batteries doubling as structural elements, or a propeller used for gyroscopic stabilization),
(3) design of ?smart? miniature inertial sensors and omnidirectional vision sensors with polar pixel arrangement,
(4) miniaturized fuel-cells,
(5) miniaturized piezoelectric actuators with enhanced power to weight ratios, and
(6) control and navigation concepts that can cope with limited sensor and processing performance.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard, Giorgio Grisetti

INDIGO - Interaction with Dialogue Enabled Robots

The goal of INDIGO is to develop technology that will facilitate the advancement of human-robot interaction. This will be achieved both by enabling robots to perceive natural human behaviour as well as by making them act in ways that are familiar to humans. Besides from the capability of recognizing and producing human speech and facial expressions, the robots will be able to navigate and maneuver in a socially compatible way. This comprises following and guidance behaviours as well as adapting and imitating human motion patterns, e.g. to avoid collisions. The final system will deployed in the premises of a museum to work as a robotic tour guide.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard, Kai Arras

RAWSEEDS


Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

 
DESIRE - The German Service Robotics Initiative

The project aims at integrating leading edge technology in the field of service robotics and to develop an open, extensible system architecture. The project is funded by the German ministery of research.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

Situation Recognition in Dynamic Multi-Agent Systems

Funded by the Siemens Corporate Technology, Siemens AG, Munich, Germany. The goal of this project is to develop a model for spatio-temporal situations using hidden Markov models based on relational state descriptions, which are extracted from the estimated state of an underlying dynamic system. Our model covers concurrent situations, scenarios with multiple agents, and situations of varying durations.

Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

Embedded Microsystems

In the research prospects 2000+ the Max Planck Society states: "In the future, numerous objects of our daily life will contain embedded microsystems with interfaces to people and wireless connections to other objects. This requires reliable, highly meshed systems that will exceed the dimension of what we know today from the World Wide Web" - Applications in medical diagnostics, instrumented homes, manufacturing environments, and vehicles among others demand a systematic development of methods for the design and the secure operation of such embedded microsystems as well as the education of highly qualified scientists in this area. The PhD program "Embedded Microsystems" at the University of Freiburg strives for this goal.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

CoSy - Cognitive Systems for Cognitive Assistants

The main goal of the EU project CoSy is to advance the science of cognitive systems through a multi-disciplinary investigation of requirements, design options and trade-offs for human-like, autonomous, integrated, physical (eg., robot) systems, including requirements for architectures, for forms of representation, for perceptual mechanisms, for learning, planning, reasoning and motivation, for action and communication.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

OpenSLAM - The resource for open source SLAM implementations.

The simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) problem has been intensively studied in the robotics community in the past. Different techniques have been proposed but only a few of them are available as implementations to the community. The goal of OpenSLAM.org is to provide a platform for SLAM researchers which gives them the possibility to publish and promote their algorithms.

Project Website
Contact person: Cyrill Stachniss, Giorgio Grisetti

GMapping

GMapping is highly efficient Rao-Blackwellized particle filter for learning grid maps. The ideas are
(1) to draw the particles from an improved proposal, computed according to the most recent observation, and
(2) To resample whenever an indicator of the variance of the weights is below a given threshold.
The first allows for drawing the particles in a close position to the true posterior, while the second reduces the particle uncertainly. The sourcecode as well as several corrected and uncorrected datasets are available.

Project Website
Contact person: Giorgio Grisetti, Cyrill Stachniss

TORO - Tree-based netwORk Optimizer

TORO is an optimization approach for constraint-network. It provides a highly efficient, gradient descent-based error minimization procedure and one of the fastest methods so far (2007).
In 2006, Olson et al. presented a novel approach to solve the graph-based SLAM problem by applying stochastic gradient descent to minimize the error introduced by constraints. TORO is an extension of Olson's algorithm. It applies a tree parameterization of the nodes in the graph that significantly improves the performance and enables a robot to cope with arbitrary network topologies. The latter allows us to bound the complexity of the algorithm to the size of the mapped area and not to the length of the trajectory.

Project Website
Contact person: Giorgio Grisetti, Cyrill Stachniss

CARMEN - The Carnegie Mellon Robot Navigation Toolkit

CARMEN is an open-source collection of software for mobile robot control. CARMEN is modular software designed to provide basic navigation primatives including: module communication infrastructure, base and sensor control, obstacle avoidance, localization, path planning, and mapping.

Project Website
Contact person: Cyrill Stachniss
Completed Projects

SmartTer - Smart All Terrain Vehicle

This project is a cooperation between the EPLF Lausanne (now ETH Zurich) and the University of Freiburg. The goal is to build an automous car based on a Smart. We participated in the European Land Rover Trials (ELROB).

Project Website

WebFAIR - Web Access to Commercial Fairs Through Mobile Agents

The EU funded project WebFAIR addresses the marketing and promotion requirements of large commercial exhibitions by providing broad access to information, services and commodities exhibited at the event. Essentially, WebFAIR aims at providing the means to remote corporate and private users for active and personalised workplace exploration and information visualisation for commercial purposes.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

TOURBOT - Interactive Museum Tele-presence through Robotic Avatars

The goal of TOURBOT is the development of an interactive tour-guide robot able to provide individual access to museums' exhibits and cultural heritage over the Internet. TOURBOT operates as the user's avatar in the museum by accepting command over the web that direct it to move in its workspace and visit specific exhibits; besides, TOURBOT can also act as a flexible, on-site museum-guide. More specifically, the objectives of the project are the following: (1) develop a robotic avatar with advanced navigation capabilities that will be able to move (semi)autonomously in the museum's premises. (2) develop appropriate web interfaces to the robotic avatar that will realize distant-user's telepresence, i.e facilitate scene observation through the avatar's eyes, (3) facilitate personalized and realistic observation of the museum exhibits, and (4) enable on-site, interactive museum tour-guides.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

NURSEBOT - Robotic Assistants for the Elderly

We have succeeded in helping people to live longer. Now we need to help them to live better.

The project PERSONAL ROBOTIC ASSISTANTS FOR THE ELDERLY is an inter-disciplinary multi-university research initiative focused on robotic technology for the elderly that brings together researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
The goal of our project is to develop mobile, personal service robots that assist elderly people suffering from chronic disorders in their everyday life. We are currently developing anautonomous mobile robot that "lives" in a private home of a chronically ill elderly person. The robot provides a research platform to test out a range of ideas for assisting elderly people.


Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

Rhino - The Interactive Museum Tour-guide Robot

The "Deutsches Museum Bonn"(German Museum Bonn) is the first museum for contemporary technology in Germany. This year, the "Deutsches Museum Bonn" contributes for the first time to the "Museumsmeilenfest" of the city of Bonn. The "Museumsmeilenfest", which takes place May 29 to June 1, is a great cultural event, at which the major museums in Bonn offer special exhibitions and tours. It is surrounded by many cultural attractions in the city of Bonn.
Visitors of the "Deutsches Museum Bonn" will have the opportunity to be shown through the museum by a MOBILE ROBOT. During the "Museumsmeilenfest" visitors can directly participate in several tours, guided by the mobile robot "RHINO". RHINO will explain what the people see, and upon request provide in-depth information concerning individual exhibits.


Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

Minerva - Carnegie Mellon's Robotic Tourguide Project

Minerva is a talking robot designed to accommodate people in public spaces. She perceives her environment through her sensors (cameras, laser range finders, ultrasonic sensors), and decides what to do using her computers. Minerva actively approaches people, offers tours, and then leads them from exhibit to exhibit. When Minerva is happy, she sings and smiles at nearby people. But don't block her way too often--otherwise, she'll become frustrated and might frown at you and honk her horn! The goal of the Minerva project is to bring robots closer to people. Recent progress in robotics and artificial intelligence has made it possible to build interactive mobile robots that operate highly reliably in crowded environments. In the next decade, robots like Minerva are expected to become part of many people's lives, where they will assist them in their everyday activities, perform janitorial services, or simply entertain them. This project is carried out jointly by Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Learning Laboratory and the University of Bonn's Computer Science Department III, and sponsored by the Lemelson Center at the National Museum of American History. Minerva is a next generation robotic tourguide, built by the same group that developed the world's first robotic museum tourguide Rhino, displayed in the Deutsches Museum Bonn.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard

The Mobile Robot Rhino

The RHINO-project is a joint project between the "Institut für Informatik III" of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and the Carnegie Mellon University (USA). The central scientific goal of the RHINO project is the analysis and synthesis of computer software that can learn from experience. The team believes that an essential aspect of future computer software will be the ability to flexibly adapt to changes, without human intervention. The ability to learn will soon enable robots like RHINO to perform complex tasks, such as transportation and delivery, tours through buildings, cleaning, inspection, and maintenance.

Project Website
Contact person: Wolfram Burgard