Commercial cleaning robots are designed to clean offices and dispose of waste paper. As part of the collaborative project “Plug & Play for Automation Systems” (AutoPnP), scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have developed the necessary software components for such applications. The individual modules can be put to versatile use, e.g. for detecting and removing dirt as well as for emptying waste-paper baskets. At Automatica 2014, Fraunhofer IPA will demonstrate how these functions can be utilized in a mobile robot assistant.
Seventy percent of professional building cleaning work consists of cleaning floors and disposing of waste. Demographic change is one reason why less and less qualified cleaning staff is available. One possible solution is to automate such work. As part of the AutoPnP collaborative project, scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have developed the necessary software functionalities.
Cleaning floors and emptying waste-paper baskets
In the course of daily floor-cleaning, a robot scans offices for any dirt, which is removed using a cleaning device. First, the robot navigates its way autonomously through open offices to inspect the floor surfaces. Dirt is automatically detected, mapped and then removed by the robot using a battery-powered vacuum cleaner. Next, the cleaning result is checked and, if required, communicated to the human operator.
Using algorithms for object classification, the robot is also able to detect waste-paper baskets, which it grasps with its arm and empties into a collection bin. “In December last year, the cleaning contractor Dussmann in Berlin carried out initial user tests, which successfully demonstrated the feasibility of such cleaning applications using currently available technology,” says Richard Bormann, Research Assistant in the Robot and Assistive Systems department. For professional cleaning contractors like Dussmann, these positive results hold out the prospect in a few years’ time of putting this technology to cost-effective use with suitably customized robot systems in order to make up for the growing shortage of qualified personnel.
Simple configurability and plug & play
The individual functionalities for robot-assisted cleaning will be presented at Automatica 2014. Implementation of the application scenario is based on a further development of the “Care-O-bot 3” mobile robot assistant, which was originally designed to provide assistance in a domestic setting. However, a modular software architecture, likewise developed as part of the project, made it possible for “Care-O-bot 3” to be quickly and easily transformed into a cleaning robot.
The same software architecture was used to realize the plug & play functionalities required for performing the cleaning task. This allows the robotic arm to be interchangeably equipped with functional attachments, such as a robotic hand or battery-powered vacuum cleaner. The new equipment is automatically detected by the control software. “The modular software architecture makes it possible to easily transfer the concept to a low-cost robot platform specially tailored to this particular application,” says Bormann.
A standardized software architecture and modular middleware are what is needed to combine different robot systems within a common system while at the same time being quickly able to adapt them for different applications. In addition to the “Robot-assisted Cleaning” scenario, “Home Automation” and “Convertible Factory” are further applications for which the developed software architecture is used within the AutoPnP collaborative project.
The AutoPnP collaborative project stands for “Plug & Play for Automation Systems” and is sponsored by the German Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).
Fraunhofer IPA | fortiss GmbH | Technische Universität Berlin/DAI-Labor | Dussmann AG | Schunk GmbH | Festo AG | Festo Didactic GmbH & Co. KG
Hannover Trade Fair 2014
7 to 11 April 2014
Automatica – 6th International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics
3 to 6 June 2014
New Trade Fair Centre Munich
Dipl.-Ing. Richard Bormann M. Sc., phone +49 711 970-1062, email@example.com
Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut
Bug-proof communication with entangled photons
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
LZH at the LASER World of Photonics 2017: Light for Innovation
16.06.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy