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euRathlon 2013 land robotics competition – Day One recap

September 24, 2013

euRathlon2013_Day_One

Robot Telemax of Telerob team, moving the canister full of hazardous material from the loading platform. Photo credit: Aaron Boardley.

euRathlon is a new civilian outdoor robotics competition focused on realistic cooperative search and rescue response scenarios. The euRathlon 2013 competition, which takes place this week in Berchtesgaden, Germany, is only for land-based robots. Though there was good weather on the first day of the competition, not all the teams qualified for the finals of the competition’s first scenario: “Mobile manipulation for handling hazardous material.” Watch the Day One recap video…

The Opening
EuRathlon project coordinator Professor Alan Winfield gave a warm welcome to all the attendees, followed by Anne Bajart (the project’s European Comission officer), Dr Frank Schneider (Head of  euRathlon 2013 Land Robotics Competition), and Herr Rudolf Schaupp.

The 1st Scenario:  Mobile manipulation for handling hazardous material
The competition’s first scenario required competitors’ robots to approach and inspect a tank waggon that was leaking a “hazardous” substance (water was used to simulate the hazardous substance for safety reasons).  The robots were required to stop the liquid from flowing out of the tank by closing at least one of the tank’s many valves, which came in various sizes and shapes. Once the valves were closed, the robots were required to pick up at least one canister containing the “hazardous” substance from a loading platform, move it into a barrel, and then cover the barrel with a lid.  The canisters were of varying sizes and weights, and were located at different heights on the loading platform.  Teams had a maximum of 45 minutes to complete this scenario, and the task was complete when the robot returned to the starting point.

Mobile manipulation is a difficult task, especially if it’s done autonomously. On Monday morning three teams decided to withdraw from this scenario, leaving four teams to participate in the mobile manipulation scenario. All four teams that qualified for the finals on Friday were tele-operated; these are: Space Applications, Telerob, ELP and Fraunhofer FKIE.

Exhibition Area
Various companies and organisations have their products and projects on display in the exhibition area this week. On Day One, exhibition area visitors witnessed an impressive demonstration of the Menzi Muck “Rescue Spider”, a robot used by the German Agency for technical relief (THW) in real disaster-response scenarios. 

Get-Together Event
After a long day of tuning up and fixing robots, participants, visitors, exhibitors and euRathlon organisers met in the Congress Centre “Kur-und Kongresshaus” to relax, enjoy dinner and exchange ideas.

Day Two will be another exciting day, with qualifications for the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) scenario and the first day of euRathlon 2013 workshop. See all the euRathlon 2013 coverage.

Marta Palau Franco is an electronics engineer, oceanographer and project manager of the EU-funded robotics project euRathlon... read more


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