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by   -   November 6, 2017

The importance of robotics for Europe’s regions will be the focus of a week-long celebration of robotics taking place around Europe on 17–27 November 2017. The European Robotics Week 2017 (ERW2017) is expected to include more than 1000 local events for the public — open days by factories and research laboratories, school visits by robots, talks by experts and robot competitions are just some of the events.

by   -   October 27, 2017

Bills being considered by Congress deserve our attention—but not our full attention. To wit: When it comes to safety-related regulation of automated driving, existing law is at least as important as the bills currently in Congress (HB 3388 and SB 1885). Understanding why involves examining all the ways that the developer of an automated driving system might deploy its system in accordance with federal law as well as all the ways that governments might regulate that system. And this examination reveals some critical surprises.

by   -   October 27, 2017

New, hybrid RoboBee can fly, dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of water, and safely land. The RoboBee is retrofitted with four buoyant and a central gas collection chamber. Once the RoboBee swims to the surface, an electrolytic plate in the chamber converts water into oxyhydrogen, a combustible gas fuel. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

By Leah Burrows

We’ve seen RoboBees that can fly, stick to walls, and dive into water. Now, get ready for a hybrid RoboBee that can fly, dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of water, and safely land.

by   -   October 19, 2017

The face of the father of quantum physics, Max Planck, emerges from a flat disk. In each state, the colors show the growth factors of the top (left) and bottom (right) layer, and the thin black lines indicate the direction of growth. The top layer is viewed from the front, and the bottom layer is viewed from the back, to highlight the complexity of the geometries. Credit: Harvard SEAS

By Leah Burrows

Nature has a way of making complex shapes from a set of simple growth rules. The curve of a petal, the swoop of a branch, even the contours of our face are shaped by these processes. What if we could unlock those rules and reverse engineer nature’s ability to grow an infinitely diverse array of shapes?

by   -   September 29, 2017


The European Robotics League (ERL) announced the winners of ERL Emergency Robots 2017 major tournament, during the awards ceremony held on Saturday, 23rd September at Giardini Pro Patria, in Piombino, Italy.

The ERL Emergency Robots 2017 competition consisted of four scenarios, inspired by the nuclear accident of Fukushima (Japan, 2011) and designed specifically for multi-domain human-robot teams. The first scenario is The Grand Challenge made up of three domains – sea, air, land, and the other three scenarios are made of only two domains.

by   -   September 29, 2017

The European Robotics League (ERL) announced the winners of ERL Emergency Robots 2017 major tournament, during the awards ceremony held on Saturday, 23rd September at Giardini Pro Patria, in Piombino, Italy.

In addition to the Competition Awards, Marta Palau Franco from Bristol Robotics Laboratory and ERL Emergency project manager introduced the referees’ special awards.

by   -   September 28, 2017


Designing and representing control algorithms is challenging in swarm robotics, where the collective swarm performance depends on interactions between robots and with their environment. The currently available modeling languages, such as UML, cannot fully express these interactions. The Behaviour-Data Relations Modeling Language (BDRML) explicitly represents robot behaviours and data that robots utilise, as well as relationships between them. This allows BDRML to express control algorithms where robots cooperate and share information with each other while interacting with the environment. Here’s the work I presented this week at #IROS2017.

by   -   September 27, 2017


The ERL Emergency Robots 2017 (#ERLemergency2017) major tournament in Piombino, Italy, gathered 130 participants from 16 universities and companies from 8 European countries. Participating teams designed robots able to bring the first relief to survivors in disaster-response scenarios. The #ERLemergency2017 scenarios were inspired by the Fukushima 2011 nuclear accident. The robotics competition took place from 15-23 September 2017 at Enel’s Torre del Sale, and saw sea, land and air robots collaborating.

Farmers could protect the environment and cut down on fertiliser use with swarms of drones. Image credit – ‘Aerial View – Landschaft Markgräflerland’ by Taxiarchos228 is licenced under CC 3.0 unported
by Anthony King

Bee-based maths is helping teach swarms of drones to find weeds, while robotic mowers keep hedgerows in shape.

Robot co-workers could help out with repetitive jobs and heavy lifting by reacting to human actions. Image credit – Italian Institute of Technology

by Anthony King
Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk fear that the robotic revolution may already be underway, but automation isn’t going to take over just yet – first machines will work alongside us.

Robots across the world help out in factories by taking on heavy lifting or repetitive jobs, but the walking, talking kind may soon collaborate with people, thanks to European robotics researchers building prototypes that anticipate human actions.

Researchers are running tests on pig skin to better understand how skin behaves and pave the way for bioengineering applications. Image credit – Dr Aisling Ni Annaidh at University College Dublin

Artificial skin with post-human sensing capabilities, and a better understanding of skin tissue, could pave the way for robots that can feel, smart-transplants and even cyborgs.

Emily – short for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard – is a remote-controlled rescue boat used by lifeguards to save people’s life at sea (Photo: Hydrolanix – EMILY robot)

This article was first published on the IEC e-tech website.

Rapid advances in technology are revolutionizing the roles of aerial, terrestrial and maritime robotic systems in disaster relief, search and rescue (SAR) and salvage operations. Robots and drones can be deployed quickly in areas deemed too unsafe for humans and are used to guide rescuers, collect data, deliver essential supplies or provide communication services.

Join us at the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2017) for a full day workshop that will bring together international stakeholders in robotics to examine best practices for accelerating robotics innovation through strategic policy frameworks.

Figure 8: Example of a 15 robot swarm of GRITSBots on the arena surface of the second instantiation of the Robotarium.

When developing algorithms for coordinating the behaviors of swarms of robots it is crucial that the algorithms are actually deployed and tested on real hardware platforms. Unfortunately, building and maintaining a swarm robotics testbed is a resource-intense proposition and, as a consequence, resources rather than ideas tend to be the bottleneck and swarm robotics research does not progress at the rate it could. The Robotarium sets out to remedy this problem by providing remote access to a large team of robots, where users can upload their code, run the experiments remotely, and get the scientific data back. This article describes the structure and architecture of the Robotarium as well as discusses what constitutes an effective, remotely accessible research platform.

This paper won the IEEE Robotics & Automation Best Multi-Robot Systems Award at ICRA 2017.

Crops are key for a sustainable food production and we face several challenges in crop production. First, we need to feed a growing world population. Second, our society demands high-quality foods. Third, we have to reduce the amount agrochemicals that we apply to our fields as it directly affects our ecosystem. Precision farming techniques offer a great potential to address these challenges, but we have to acquire and provide the relevant information about the field status to the farmers such that specific actions can be taken.

This paper won the IEEE Robotics & Automation Best Automation Paper Award at ICRA 2017.

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December 10, 2017


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