AIRobots Kick-off meeting

Date and Meeting Venue

10 February 2010 – Official Kick-off meeting Rectorat, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 33, Bologna map Street view

11 February 2010 – Technical Kick-off meeting Engineering Faculty, Viale Risorgimento 2 map

The kick-off meeting of the European project AIRobots, funded under the 7th Framework Programme, will be held in Bologna on 10-11 February 2010. The project, coordinated by Prof. Lorenzo Marconi, Dept. of Electronics, Computer Science and Systems of the University of Bologna, will last three years and will involve several researches coming from five institutions framed in the consortium. The first day of the meeting will be focused on the presentation of the consortium, of the planned activities, and of the rules for the project implementation. The second day of the meeting will be devoted to the organization and starting of technical activities.

The project

The goal of the AIRobots project is to develop a new generation of aerial service robots capable to support human beings in all those activities which require the ability to interact actively and safely with environments not constrained on ground but, indeed, freely in air. The step forward with respect to the “classical” field of aerial robotics is to realize aerial vehicles able to accomplish a large variety of applications, such as inspection of buildings and large infrastructures, sample picking, aerial remote manipulation, etc. The starting point is an aerial platform whose aeromechanical configuration allows the vehicle to interact with the environment in a non-destructive way and to hover close to operating points. Rotary-wing aerial vehicles with shrouded propellers represent the basic airframes which will be then equipped with appropriate robotic end-effectors and sensors in order to transform the aerial platform into an aerial service robot, a system able to fly and to achieve robotic tasks. Advanced automatic control algorithms will be conceived to govern the aerial platform which will be remotely supervised by the operator with the use of haptic devices. Particular emphasis will be given to develop advanced human-in-the-loop and autonomous navigation control strategies relying upon a cooperative and adaptive interaction between the on-board automatic control and the remote operator. Force and visual feedback strategies will be investigated in order to transform the aerial platform in a “flying hand” suitable for aerial manipulation. The consortium is composed by four academic groups (University of Bologna-Italy, ETH Zurich-Switzerland, University of Naples Federico II-Italy, and University of Twente-The Netherlands) and an Industry, ALSTOM Inspection Robotics, with the role of end-user and evaluator of the project outcomes for the specific application of robotic inspection of power plants. Prototypes of aerial service robots will be developed within AIRobots and tested on experimental setups which will be constructed in order to reproduce typical industrial scenarios, envisaged by ALSTOM Inspection Robotics, in which aerial inspection robotic can be beneficial. The prototypes will be specifically tested on tasks such as docking and undocking from structures, cleaning, inspection and repairing of infrastructures, payload lifting, and others operations requiring safe interaction between the aerial platform and the environment.