FZI Team Reaches EuRoC Challenge Finals

Team from Karlsruhe convinces international jury consisting of robotics experts / FZI researchers teach robots how to proceed sensitively when solving assembly tasks

Team FLA²IR of the FZI Research Center for Information Technology is one of two teams that have reached the finals of the European Robotics Challenge EuRoC. The FZI team was able to convince the international jury of robotics experts with very good results in the three qualifying rounds “benchmarking”, “freestyle” and “showcase”. A total of 30 research teams consisting of system integrators, technology providers and end users from the industry from all over Europe took part in the competition. Finally, the finalists have been selected among the contestants.

In the last qualifying round, the FZI researchers faced the challenge of fitting flexible rubber sealings in car doors. From an ergonomic point of view, this task is straining for people because not all spots of the door are equally well accessible. “However, robots need to learn how to sensitively handle the flexible material,” explains Arne Rönnau, Department Manager at the FZI. “The gripper of the robot needs to safely hold the sealing while inserting the plastic clips into holes in the door. This requires precise force control and good coordination skills.“ Team FLA²IR used the industrial robot KUKA KR16 to meet the challenge. However, the application can be executed regardless of the robot hardware or of the robot’s weight class.

Another aspect of the qualifying round “showcase” was the safety concept regarding the human-robot interaction (HRI). Team FLA²IR has created a safety concept that smoothly pauses the robot as soon as a person approaches it. Combined with classic safety systems such as laser scanners, the safety concept guarantees the full stop in case of an emergency. Thus, people can intervene in the assembly process without interrupting it. The robot continues working as soon as the human leaves the working area.

The FZI team convinced the judges in all three subtasks of the last competition category in April 2017 and clearly stood out against the other teams by reaching a high score. Together with team PIROS from Italy, team FLA²IR from Karlsruhe moves on to the finals. In the last phase of the EuRoC challenge, the teams have to realise their showcase application as a pilot project with their application partner. The FZI researchers are cooperating with MRK Systeme GmbH as system integrator and Adam Opel AG as end user. “We are looking forward to realising our pilot application with Opel in cooperation with MRK Systeme,” says Arne Rönnau.

A total of 102 European teams are taking part in the EuRoC Challenge, separated in three groups with a focus on production, logistics and maintenance. The goal is to develop robotics technologies for industrial demands and to apply them to industrial needs at the same time. The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA organises the contest for the group focusing on production in which the FZI is taking part. After three qualifying rounds and an overall running time of almost four years, the winner will be announced in June 2018. The European Union has provided funding for the EuRoC Challenge from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration in the amount of EUR 7 million.

The results of the FZI team FLA²IR have been summarised in a video and can now be watched on the FZI Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/BX2dWxLMWeQ

Further information about the EuRoC Challenge can be found at: http://www.euroc-project.eu/

About the FZI Research Center for Information Technolgoy

The FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is a non-profit institution for applied research in information technology and technology transfer. Its task is to provide businesses and public institutions with the latest research findings in information technology. It also qualifies young researchers for their career in academics or business as well as self-employment. Led by professors from different faculties, research teams at the FZI interdisciplinarily develop and prototype concepts, software, hardware and system solutions for their clients. The FZI House of Living Labs offers a unique research environment for applied research. Every department at the FZI operates under a certified quality management system according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2008.

The branch office of the FZI is located in Berlin.

Further Information

Frieda-Sophie Lammert, FZI Corporate Communications and Media
FZI Research Center for Information Technology
Haid-und-Neu-Str. 10-14, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 721 9654-928
Email: lammert@dont-want-spam.fzi.de
Web: www.fzi.de