Invitation to the lecture: Bioinspired Aerial Robots for Infrastructures by Dr. Mirko Kovač, Imperial College London

The H2020 project “Twinning coordination action for spreading excellence in Aerial Robotics – AeRoTwin” and Laboratory for Robotics and Intelligent Control Systems – LARICS invite you to the lecture: “Bioinspired Aerial Robots for Infrastructures” by Mirko Kovač, Imperial College London, which will be held on 27th September 2018 at 09:00 in the Seminar Room of the Department of Control and Computer Engineering on the 9th floor of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Zagreb, Croatia.

More about the speaker and the talk can be found in the detailed news content or here.

Abstract

Future cities will evolve into complex ecosystems where autonomous aerial, aquatic and ground-based robots will coexist with people and cooperate in symbiosis. To create this human-robot ecosystem, robots will need to respond more flexibly, robustly and efficiently than they do today. They will need to be designed with the ability to move safely close to humans and in contact with infrastructure to perform sensing and intervention tasks. Their behaviours will need to be carefully orchestrated to integrate smoothly into our environment and in industry 4.0 workflows. Taking inspiration to natural systems, aerial robotic systems can integrate multi-functional morphology, energy-efficient locomotion principles and advanced perception abilities that will allow them to successfully operate and cooperate in these complex and dynamic environments. This talk will describe design principles and technologies for the development of innovative and biologically inspired flying robots that can perform monitoring and manufacturing tasks for infrastructure systems. Examples will include flying robots with perching and aerial sensor-placement abilities, aerial-aquatic drones, drones with compliant landing systems for landing on autonomous cars, drones for aerial construction and repair, soft aerial robots, and origami-based drones for safe interactions with infrastructure elements.

 

Biography

Dr. Mirko Kovač is Director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory, Leader in Aero-structures at Imperial College London and Royal Society Wolfson Fellow.  His research group focuses on the development of novel, biologically inspired flying robots for distributed sensing in air and water and on autonomous robotic construction for future cities. Dr. Kovač’s particular specialisation is in robot design, hardware development and multi-modal robot mobility.

Before his appointment in London, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory as part of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA. He obtained his PhD with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He received his MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) in 2005. During his studies, he was a research associate with the University of California in Berkeley USA, RIETER Automotive Switzerland, the WARTSILA Diesel Technology Division in Switzerland, and CISERV in Singapore.

Since 2006, he has presented his work at numerous international conferences and in journals and has won several best paper and best presentation awards. He has also been an invited lecturer and keynote speaker at more than 30 research institutions world-wide and he regularly acts as an advisor to government, media, investors and industry on robotics opportunities. He has also been a representative speaker on education and innovation at the World Knowledge Dialogue Symposium 2008, the EPFL Didactic Days Conference 2008 and the London Innovation Summit 2014 and 2016.

Three new scientific projects in LARICS

LARICS is about to start working on three new exciting projects:

AEROTWIN

Twinning coordination action for spreading excellence in Aerial Robotics is a Horizon 2020 project from the WIDESPREAD-05-2017 topic. Our partners in this project will be Imperial College London, Universidad de Sevilla-AICIA and Fundación Corporación Tecnológica de Andalucía (CTA)

ENCORE

The main objective of the project (ENergy aware Building Information Modelling (BIM) Cloud Platform in a COst-effective Building REnovation Context) is to increase the share of renovated stock in Europe and worldwide by providing effective and affordable BIM tools that cover the whole renovation life-cycle (from data collection to project execution, and commissioning/delivery). The ENCORE project presents a strong consortium of 10 partners from 7 European countries

SPECULARIA

A Croatian Science Foundation sponsored the project. The main goal of this five-year-long project is to deal with concepts of compliant robot control, soft robotics, and heterogeneous robotic system and utilize them to help farmers in indoor organic agriculture.

Four New Doctors of Science in LARICS

Four of our current and alumni members have successfully defended their doctoral dissertations and received their Doctor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering.

Goran Vasiljević defended his thesis titled “Highly accurate markerless localization of mobile robots in indoor industrial environments” on October 24, 2017.

Ivica Draganjac became a Doctor of Science on February 2, 2018, with successful defense of the thesis titled “Decentralized control of free ranging automated guided vehicles in industrial environments“.

Frano Petric defended his thesis “Robot-assisted autism spectrum disorder diagnostics using partially observable Markov decision processes” on March 29, 2018.

Karlo Griparić became our latest Doctor of Science on April 5, 2018, upon successful defense of his thesis “Decentralizirani višeagentski sustav za interakciju sa zajednicom pčela zasnovanu na algoritmu konsenzusa“.

Congratulations to all of them!

robotics@fer.hr at the University Fair

Together with Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies (LABUST) and Laboratory for Autonomous and Mobile Robotics (LAMOR), we were a part of our Faculty’s display at this years University Fair, which was held in the Student Centre from November 23-25, 2017.

The event was aimed towards high school students which were able to see a small part of our robotics research, including our newly acquired robot Pepper, aPad platform from LABUST and Husky platform from LAMOR, all presented under our robotics@fer.hr brand.

Tomislav Haus defended his doctoral dissertation

On November 23, 2017 LARICS researcher Tomislav Haus successfully defended his doctoral dissertation and received a Doctor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Tomislav’s thesis was entitled “Control of multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle based on moving mass concept”. The original scientific contributions of his thesis include: (i) A method for roll and pitch control of a multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle based on the moving mass concept, (ii) Analysis of dynamical and static characteristics of a multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle with internal combustion engines and moving masses based on the derived mathematical model and parameter identification, (iii) Adaptive control algorithm for a multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle with internal combustion engines and moving masses which compensates for changes of the center of mass and moment of inertia.

MORUS experiments in Udbina

LARICS part of the MORUS team (Stjepan Bogdan, Matko Orsag, Tomislav Haus, Antun Ivanović, Marko Car) spent a week in a military base in Udbina preparing the MORUS aerial vehicle powered by four internal combustion engines for the first take off. We are happy to report that the maiden flight of the vehicle took place on November 17, 2017. In the final experiment, the vehicle was piloted through RC controller, with height, yaw, roll and pitch manually controlled by the pilot. This first flight demonstrated that the concept proposed within the project is feasible. There have been many lessons learned throughout the week spent in the base, which will be used to improve the vehicle design and performance.

Knowledge Thursday at Croatian Telecom

We participated in the lecture on Knowledge Thursday at Croatian Telecom held in their offices in Sky Tower on Thursday, November 16th 2017. Our partners from Croatian Telecom and Bokamobile presented the motivation and rationale for using Pepper robot in promotional activities of Croatian Telecom. Our part of presentation covered the technical aspects of the robot and the project. We also gave a brief overview of our day-to-day robotics activities with emphasis on the ADORE project.

Just before the talk, we finished our Pepper training for Croatian Telecom personnel, marking a successful finish to this phase of our collaboration.

Intellectual property day for children and youth in Varaždin

We were again invited to participate in the Intellectual property day for children and youth, organized by Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia with the support of European Union Intellectual Property Office. This time the event was held in Varaždin City Hall on November 14th, 2017.

As a part of an interactive education about intellectual property and its managing, 80 children children of the 5th to 8th grade from the I., II., IV., and V. primary schools in Varaždin attended our workshop titled “Robotics and licences” in which we demonstrated the function of our NAO robots to explain the role of software licenses in robotics. More information about the event can be found here.

subCULTron at Breaking the Surface 2017

At this year’s Breaking the Surface workshop LARICS and LABUST researchers demonstrated the functionality of the underwater heterogeneous swarm developed within project subCULTron. Demonstration gained a lot of attention, and we got many interesting questions and ideas from attendees.

After the BtS workshop, FER part of the subCULTron consortium stayed in Biograd na Moru to conduct further experiments with the swarm. Experiments included aMussel drifting freely in Biograd aquatorium and monitoring the environment, implementing consensus algorithms for underwater system using scheduled acoustic communication, autonomous docking and formation control. Experiments were successful, we gained a lot of insights into the functioning of the swarm and are looking forward to working on the project goals and challenges in the following year.

Weekend Media Festival with Croatian Telecom

Finishing the development phase of our collaboration with Croatian Telecom and Bokamobile, we deployed Croatian Telecom’s Pepper robot in two scenarios on Weekend Media Festival, held in Rovinj, Croatia on September 21-24, 2017.

In the first scenario, Pepper was the announcer of the panel talk called Stem, je t’aime: The Future is Now. Pepper was joined by Nenad Bakic, Mate Rimac, Boris Drilo, Boris Jokic and others to discuss the importance of STEM in Croatia.

The other task for Pepper was to be a host at the Croatian Telecom booth, where the robot greeted the visitors and offered them the opportunity to dance, take selfies, play a game or learn more about STEM fields.

subCULTron Press Event in Venice

On 15th September 2017 subCULTron consortium jointly publicly presented subCULTron project as “the world largest diving robot test” in the waters in the Venice lagoon, at the Venice Arsenal. This was the first time that journalists and the public had the opportunity to see our project in action. Journalist from whole Europe participated in the event and transmitted the news about the project. Euro news feature on subCULTron can be found here.

 

subCULTron Assembly Workshop

At the end of July 2017 an “Assembly Workshop” for project subCULTron was held at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, with two laboratories from Zagreb participating – LARICS and LABUST. During the assembly workshop the project consortium assembled and tested 20 aMussel platforms and assembled the first aFish robot. This is the first step of the mass production of underwater heterogeneous swarm where the ultimate goal is to develop 150 robot platforms. The workshop was successful and we all enjoyed working on the platforms as well as spending quality time with members of the subCULTron consortium.

 

Summer internship at United Stated Military Academy

LARICS Phd student Tomislav Haus spent four weeks (mid June to mid July 2017) at United States Military Academy at WestPoint, NY, as a part of their summer internship program. He was an intern at Department for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science under supervision of LTC Christopher M. Korpela, Ph.D. Tomislav worked on vision based control and navigation of a small multirotor aerial vehicle. In particular, an algorithm has been developed which tracks QR-like markers and allows the vehicle to localize itself in a space with randomly distributed markers. The video showing the achieved results is available here.

LARICS at IFAC 2017 World Congress

LARICS researcher Tamara Petrović participated in the 20th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC 2017 World Congress), which was held in Toulouse, France from 9 to 14 July 2017. Tamara presented a paper entitled “Decentralized Energy Sharing Protocol using TÆMS Framework and Coalition-based Metaheuristic for Heterogeneous Robotic Systems” that was done within subCULTron project together with B. Arbanas, S. Boljunčić and prof. S. Bogdan.

 

Edin Kočo defended his doctoral dissertation

On July 17, 2017 LARICS researcher Edin Kočo successfully defended his doctoral dissertation and received a Doctor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Edin’s thesis was entitled “Hybrid compliance control and feet trajectory optimization for a bioinspired quadruped robot”. The main results of his work include: (i) design of a variable passive compliance element in a form of a lower leg implant which allows adaptation of robot motion on stiffness-varying terrain, (ii) a dynamical model of hopping of a quadruped robot with variable passive compliance and legs actuation algorithm based on the measurement of contact force amplitudes, (iii) a method of active compliance control of electrically powered quadruped robot based on virtual linear springs which increases the robustness of locomotion on unstructured terrain under external disturbances, (iv) multiobjective evolutionary optimization of quadruped foot trajectories, defined in the Fourier domain, which results in simultaneous increase of energy efficiency and speed of quadruped robot locomotion

Visit to Ford resarch center in Aachen

Ante Zglav visited Ford research center in Aachen to collaborate on project ADELE. The projects goal is to provide an automatic tuning and extension method for a model of a diesel Lean NOx trap (LNT) catalyst using test data. During his stay he engaged in knowledge transfer with the researchers learning about the chemistry of an LNT catalyst, the test setups, and the model structure. He also gave a presentation of the work accomplished thus far, and made plans for the future research direction of the project.

LARICS presented at ICUAS2017 conference

LARICS Phd student Tomislav Haus attended The 2017 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), held in Miami, FL, USA, June 13-16. Tomislav presented the paper titled “A concept of a non-tilting multirotor-UAV based on moving mass control“. The results presented in the paper are part of the research efforts of the MORUS project, within which we aim to build a heavy-lift quadrotor powered by four internal combustion engines.

Intellectual property day for children and youth

We were invited to participate in the Intellectual property day for children and youth, organized by Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia with the support of European Union Intellectual Property Office and held on May 30 in the Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb.

Within the programme for senior primary school grades titled “I Have an Idea”, school children of the 7th grade from the Trnsko and the Kajzerica primary schools and of the 8th grade from the Jure Kaštelan primary school participated in our workshop titled “Robotics and licences” in which Damjan demonstrated the function of our NAO robots to explain the role of software licenses in robotics. More information about the event can be found here.

LARICS @ TEDx Zagreb

Members of LARICS attended TEDx event at Vatroslav Lisinski hall in Zagreb where they presented a collection of wheeled and legged mobile robot platforms developed within the laboratory at the Faculty booth. The goal of the event was to share ideas and experiences mainly in the STEM area and it featured a large number of distinguished presenters.

Lecture “Design of wearable IMU sensors-data fusion for a user friendly mobility assistive device”

IEEE Croatia Section, Robotic and Automation Department and ZCI-ACROSS organized the lecture “Design of wearable IMU sensors-data fusion for a user-friendly mobility assistive device” which was held by Dr. Omar Nour, Post doctor at LARICS. Dr. Nour presented the research done in measuring the posture of a human body during different phases of sit to stand motion using inertial sensors. The developed methods and algorithms fuse the data of inertial sensors and facilitate the design of the mobility assistance technology.