The European Robotics League (ERL) is a European-based common framework for robotics competitions in the fields of Industrial Robots (ERL Industrial Robots), Service Robots (ERL Service Robots) and Emergency Robots (ERL Emergency Robots). The ERL builds on the success of the European funded FP7 projects EuRoC, RoCKIn and euRathlon.
International teams participate in local and major tournaments distributed across Europe. The three robotics competitions have been designed to address open societal, scientific and industrial challenges and to thoroughly assess, compare, and evaluate their competing innovative approaches. This new robotics league format was launched under the umbrella of SPARC – the Partnership for Robotics in Europe – at this year´s RoboCup in Leipzig, Germany.
The kick-off event took place in Leipzig, Germany, during the RoboCup 2016 World Championship. Organised by SPARC and hosted by Reinhard Lafrenz (Secretary General of euRobotics), it included members from the robotics community, including: Juha Heikkilä, Head of the European Commission Robotics Unit; Anne Bajart, Programme Officer of the European Commission Robotics Unit; Rainer Bischoff, Vice President euRobotics/KUKA; Bruno Siciliano, Researcher from Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II; Pedro Lima, Coordinator of ERL Service Robots; Marta Palau Franco, Project Manager of ERL Emergency Robots.
The ERL provides a common framework for two indoor robotics competitions, ERL Industry Robots and ERL Service Robots, and one outdoor robotics competition, ERL Emergency Robots. These competitions aim at replicating consistent benchmarking results, more so than stating a winner of a single event. The ERL local and major tournaments are based in Europe and open to international participation. ERL Service and ERL Industrial Robots have a diffused set of benchmarking testbed across Europe, where researchers compete, meet, discuss, learn and improve. Whilst ERL Emergency organises a pre-competition summer school and attendees can prepare themselves for participating in the major tournament.
The three competitions target three clear objectives:
Finally, the ERL provides a platform for challenging, developing and showcasing robotics technologies and engages not only with the robotics community but also industry and general audiences. This new model for the robotics league will be tested for viability alongside its implementation over the next two years.
ERL Service Robots focuses on service robots for home and healthcare applications. The scenarios are designed around the idea of giving support to an elderly person in mastering his/her daily life at home. Robots have to welcome visitors, map the home, and perform a large variety of other general-purpose service tasks.
The first major tournament of ERL Service Robots was held in conjunction with RoboCup@Home 2016. All the twenty-three teams from thirteen countries that qualified for RoboCup@Home opted to participate in ERL Service. Teams’ performances in two of the RoboCup@Home tasks were shared with ERL Service. The tasks that were assessed using the ERL scoring system were Navigation/Visit My Home and General Purpose Service Robot.
The ERL scoring system is based on achievements and penalizations, a ‘class’ assigned to each team, determined by their number of achievements. The class number goes from 0 to a maximum number of achievements that may vary from task-to-task.
In this first major tournament, the teams’ classes were:
Task Benchmark: Navigation/VisitMyHome
Task Benchmark: General Purpose Service Robot
The next ERL Service local tournaments will take place in Portugal and Italy. More information on the calls will be published soon.
ERL Industrial Robots main purpose is to foster innovation in industrial robotics. The focus is on manipulation, handling, assembly and transport of work pieces. The competition takes place in a scaled-down factory environment and uses desktop-size robots for mobile manipulation. The scenarios include performing a variety of work steps at different locations on a shop floor and automating high-mix, low volume production using a limited number of production equipment.
Eight teams of four countries participated in ERL Industrial Robots competition first major tournament in Leipzig. Three RoboCup@Work tasks were assessed using the ERL scoring system, which follows the common model of Penalties and Achievements.
The teams’ classes for the ERL Industrial Robots were:
Task Benchmark: Basic Transportation Task 1
Task Benchmark: Basic Transportation Task 2
Task Benchmark: Basic Transportation Task 3
ERL Emergency Robots is a civilian, outdoor robotics competition, with a focus on realistic, multi-domain emergency response scenarios. Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, the ERL Emergency Grand Challenge can only be met when land, underwater and flying robots work cooperatively.
A summer school in collaboration with TRADR EU-FP7 project will take place in Oulu, Finland from 22-26 August 2016. If you would like to attend the outdoor demonstrations as an observer, contact the organisers.
The ERL Emergency Robots major tournament will be held in Piombino, Italy, September 2017. More information on the event will be published autumn 2016.
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