Icar 2011. 20th June

On June 28, 2011, in Misc, by Cmc
The day started at 4 am in Tartu and the first real resting-time came only at about 7 pm. It was totally worth it!
There were 4 workshops to choose from:
“Performance Measures for Quantifying Safe and Reliable Operation of Professional Service Robots in Unstructured, Dynamic Environments”
“Marine Robotics”
“Urban Service Robotics: Challenges and Opportunities”
“Soft Robotics”

The links will take you to the ICAR web-site to check out the program of each workshop. I only attended the “Performance Measures for Quantifying Safe and Reliable Operation of Professional Service Robots in Unstructured, Dynamic Environments”.
I can not say that all of the presentations were exiting for me. For example I really disliked Rikard Mäki’s (Volvo Construction Equipment) presentation. The entire time I felt like he was trying to sell me something. Also the dozy Finnish accent just sounded like babbling.

The first presentation was by Rolf Lakaemper (Temple University) and Raj Madhavan (University of Maryland College Park and NIST): “Evaluating World Modeling and Navigation using CLEO (Complexity Levels for Environments and Obstacles)”. This was my favourite presentation that really hit the spot. I got tons of ideas. Like how to approach an line following robot design, what to look for, how to build dynamic storage systems etc etc. I actually got so many useful thoughts that it would be possible just to make loads of blog posts about them.
Parts that most interested me were AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) systems, problems that stop an industry from using the latest advancements on science of robotics, defining evaluation framework for AGV-s, AGV-s in random changing environment, what is needed by the industry ie. why the industry seems to be really conservative and problems of testing the mapping capabilities of a “black box”.
Since testing people will probably never see the algorithms or code of the robot they have to create some means for testing the capabilities of unknown architecture.

The second really interesting presentation was by Ola B. Pettersson (Atlas Copco): “Safe Operation of Multiple Mining Machines”.
This presentation was mostly a talk for the academia for understanding what and why things are  happening on the industry side with the focus on mines. A large portion of the presentation went into explaining how Atlas Copco sees the future of underground mines.

The next interesting thing was by Henrik Andreasson (Örebro University): “Vision-Based People Detection Utilizing Reflective Vests for Autonomous Transportation Applications”
There is really nothing to say. I’ll just show the video.

The idea was to detect reflective vests in complex environment via real time video processing and IR strobing. I think that this is ingenious way for doing fast and resource efficiently. Since video processing is really far from my knowledge I will just show a video of the demonstration and if anyone is interested about how it works, you can search for the paper and read more about it.

Last but not least there was a presentation by Martin Magnusson and Todor Stoyanov (Örebro University): “Comparative accuracy evaluation of 3D maps and range sensors”

Most of the robots in very wide variety environments need to do some kind of mapping for navigational analysis and/or path planning etc. The problem that seems to be quite big is missing of any means to compare the robot’s mapping capabilities to real life map. So the goal of this project is to create utility for getting some numerical value for comparing the two. This is done by three year grant and is still a work in process.
Any external input is greatly valued by the authors of the presentation and others working on the project.

The first day of the ICAR 2011 conference was well worth the time. I got much insight to the real problems of robotics and industry. Maybe one day I will be working for the industry and can help to accelerate the rate of modernization the industrial robotics.

Also I need to show huge appreciation of my little helper on editing this post, Aradia.


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