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
High Resolution Laser Structuring of Thin Films at LOPEC 2017
21.03.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Open ecosystem for smart assistance systems
20.03.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences