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Rapid outdoor/indoor 3D mapping with a Husky UGV

by Nicholas Charron

The need for fast, accurate 3D mapping solutions has quickly become a reality for many industries wanting to adopt new technologies in AI and automation. New applications requiring these 3D mapping platforms include surveillance, mining, automated measurement & inspection, construction management & decommissioning, and photo-realistic rendering. Here at Clearpath Robotics, we decided to team up with Mandala Robotics to show how easily you can implement 3D mapping on a Clearpath robot.

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Customer story: Deployable, autonomous vibration control of bridges using Husky UGV

Image: Clearpath
Image: Clearpath

Sriram Narasimhan’s research team are shaking things up in the Civil Engineering Structures Lab at the University of Waterloo. The research, which is led by Ph.D Candidate Kevin Goorts, is developing a new mobile damping system for suppressing unwanted vibrations in lightweight, flexible bridges. Whereas damping systems are often permanent fixtures built into the bridge, their system is designed to be adaptable, autonomous, and better suited for rapid, temporary deployment.

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News

Clearpath Robotics launches “Warthog UGV”, the amphibious robot

warthog-UGV

Clearpath Robotics, a leading provider of mobile robotic platforms for research and development, has partnered with ARGO XTR to release 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.

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Interviews Learn

Interview: International Ground Vehicle Ground Competition (IGVC) winner on “Bigfoot 2” Husky UGV

Photo credit: Lawrence Tech University IGVC Facebook
Photo credit: Lawrence Tech University IGVC Facebook

By: Chris Bogdon

The International Ground Vehicle Ground Competition (IGVC) is an annual event that brings together teams of college students from all over the globe to compete in an autonomous ground vehicle competition. Teams are tasked to design and construct a fully autonomous unmanned robotic vehicle that can navigate around a challenging outdoor obstacle course under a prescribed time. This year’s IGVC went down in June at Oakland University, and while the competition was stiff, only one team could come out on top. That team was Lawrence Teach University (LTU), whose robot, Bigfoot 2, was built using the Husky UGV robotic platform.

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4 reasons why Industry 4.0 will leave AGVs behind

ATV in warehouse. Source: Wikipedia Commons
AGV in warehouse. Source: Wikipedia Commons

By Paula de Villavicencio

Technology has been in development for the last decade and has now come to fruition in the form of self-driving vehicles. These vehicles are driving into industrial centers and beginning to replace traditional AGVs, and it’s no wonder why. The first AGV was introduced in the early 1950s and more than 50 years later it has marginally advanced from following radio transmissions from the ceiling to following magnetic tape on the floor. Its slow advancement isn’t the only limitation; AGVS are fixed, reactive, captured and adoptive machines, and they leave a lot to be desired in today’s complex manufacturing environment.

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5 innovation challenges in materials transport

warehouse-distribution-centre-supply-chain

by: Meghan Hennessey

Walk into any manufacturing facility today. Forklifts and AGVs may be in operation serving specific parts of the manufacturing floor, but you’ll also see hundreds of people at work— pulling, tugging, and pushing goods from point A to point B. Why is it that we are still using humans — our most important asset — for materials transport? Yet, despite being the grease for the manufacturing wheel, materials transport remains an untapped opportunity for automation and innovation in most manufacturing establishments.

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Interviews

Interview: The team behind the apple harvesting robot

Source: Clearpath Robotics
Source: Clearpath Robotics

By: Chris Bogdon
Amir Degani is an assistant professor at Technion Institute of Technology and Avi Kahnani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Israeli robotics start-up Fresh Fruits Robotics. Together, they are developing an apple harvesting robot that can autonomously navigate apple orchards and accurately pick fruit from the trees. I got the chance to sit down with Amir and Avi to learn more about the project. In our talk, they discussed the robot’s design, the challenges of apple picking, tree training and their experience demoing the robot for Microsoft’s CEO at the Think Next 2016 exhibition.

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3 supply chain trends to watch for in 2016

factory_arm_robot_packing_manipulationThe New Year is upon us and with that comes predictions of what 2016 has in store. Will Automated Guided Vehicle (AGVs) continue to drive materials on the factory floor? What is ‘Industry 4.0’ and when will it take shape? The factory of the future is around the corner and these three supply chain trends for 2016 are the ones that will take us there.

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Tutorials

Simulating in MapleSim

maplesimBy Ilia Baranov

Robots are expensive and they usually depend on batteries. What if you want to run an experiment with 100 robots, running for 10 hours? To help answer this question, ROS has built in support for robot simulation in the form of Gazebo. While this works quite well, it is currently unable to simulate physical properties like batteries, temperature, surface roughness. If your robotics research depends on accurate models, you may want to consider looking at MapleSim® 2015 – a high performance physical modeling and simulation tool developed by Maplesoft™.

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News

AgBot Robotic Seeding Challenge powered by $50K grant for Grizzly RUV

agbot_seeding_challenge_2016_clearpath By Rachel Gould

The 2016 agBOT Robotic Seeding Challenge challenges participants to build unmanned robotic equipment to plant, measure and track multiple crop seeds to improve farming efficiency. The objective of the agBOT challenge is to reduce the harmful chemical by-products and erosion caused by inefficient farming techniques. The challenge will also inspire new solutions to reduce farms’ carbon footprints while increasing production – essential given that the agricultural sector must support the projected global population of nine billion by the year 2050. Clearpath Robotics, in conjunction with airBridge, is proud to offer a $50,000 grant toward the purchase of the Grizzly Robotic Utility Vehicle for teams in the 2016 challenge.

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Robots 101: Lasers

mapping
By Ilia Baranov

In this new Robots 101 series, we will be taking a look at how robots work, what makes designing them challenging, and how engineers at Clearpath Robotics tackle these problems. To successfully operate in the real world, robots need to be able to see obstacles around them, and locate themselves. Humans do this mostly through sight, whereas robots can use any number of sensors. Today we will be looking at lasers, and how they contribute to robotic systems.

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Clearpath and Christie demo 3D video game with robots

Christie-Clearpath-Hack-Week[clear]

By Ryan Gariepy 

For our recent “hack week” we teamed up with one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world, Christie, to make a 3D video game with robots. How did it all come together?

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MATLAB Robotics System Toolbox and ROS

Capture

By Ilia Baranov

Recently, Mathworks released a new toolbox for Matlab. This is exciting for a number of reasons: it includes everything from data analysis to coordination of multiple robots. In today’s post, we explore using this Robotics System Toolbox to connect to both real and virtual Jackal robots.

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ROS101: Creating your own RQT Dashboard

ROS101_Clearpath

By Martin Cote

After working in the terminal, gazebo and RViz, it’s time for a change of pace. For this ROS101 tutorial we’ll be detailing the basics of creating your own rqt dashboard! A dashboard is a single rqt window with one or more plugins displayed in movable, re-sizable frames. Dashboards generally consist of a number of plugins that, in combination, provide a suite of UI capabilities for working with robots and robot data.

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ROS, Arduino, and a Husky simulation

By Martin Cote

The Arduino family of micro controllers has quickly become a go-to board for hobbyists due to its ease of use. Often times roboticists must create communication protocols to allow their embedded hardware to communicate with a computer. One of the most powerful aspects of ROS is that it can communicate with a large variety of hardware. That’s where rosserial comes in! Rosserial is a general protocol for sending ROS messages over a serial interface, such as the UART on Arduino. This allows you to easily interface any sensors attached to Arduino into your ROS environment. Read on to learn more!