RoboCup Logistics League – Carologistics

 

The RWTH and FH Carologistics team is taking part in the major league competition "RoboCup Logistics League," which aims to advance research in the field of robotics. At the annual competition, teams from around the world must prove their ability in various disciplines. During the RoboCup Logistics League, always two teams with three mobile autonomous robots each compete against one-another in an intralogistics scenario.  

  Team photo of the RWTH Carologistics Copyright: Tobias Neumann

The subject matter of the competition thus essentially portrays the idea of industry 4.0. Intelligent machines are to be able to take on production of complex products in a dynamic manufacturing environment. The students must develop suitable software and hardware for mobile robots, which can be employed to master logistics activities.

To show they are qualified for such tasks, the robots must be able to negotiate several obstacles during the competition. One of the tasks, for instance, includes the exploration of a previously unknown manufacturing environment or the independent identification of available machines in order to guarantee optimal flow of material among several assembly stations. Software development is subdivided into the components planing, skills and basic components.

 

The students are able to develop the appropriate hardware with the help of the mobile robot platform Robotino provided by Festo Didactic Ltd. Among others, a laser scanner and 3D sensors, which allow robots to perceive the manufacturing environment, can be mounted on this platform and integrated into the control system. On this basis, the students may then design a special "gripping system", which will allow the robot to pick up various goods in transit from conveyor belts.

The development of the software constitutes the greatest challenge for the students. Particularly the autonomous and efficiency-oriented scheduling of separate processes within different areas of taks to be accomplished by the mobile robot is extremely complex. In 2017, the Carologistics were able to defend their world champion title.

Carologistics, which became the world champions for the fourth time in a row this year, is made up of researchers and students from the Cybernetics Lab IMA/ZLW & IfU (RWTH Aachen, Mechanical Engineering, Professor Sabina Jeschke), the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (RWTH Aachen, Computer Science, Professor Gerhard Lakemeyer) and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Professor Alexander Ferrein).

Supported by the Hans Hermann Voss Foundation.