Paper to be published in Robotics and Computer-integrated Manufacturing journal

Paper “High-accuracy vehicle localization for autonomous warehousing”, written by Goran Vasiljevic, Damjan Miklic, Ivica Draganjac and prof. Zdenko Kovacic will be published in the Robotics and Computer-integrated manufacturing journal. The paper presents the algorithm stack for high-precision autonomous vehicle localization, developed within FP7 EC-SAFEMOBIL project. The proposed methodology satisfies the industrial requirements for localization accuracy and has been verified by extensive experiments in realistic industrial conditions. Full paper can be accessed via the following link, which will be available until July 3, 2016.

LARICS at the 7th European Robotics Forum in Ljubljana

Under the capERF2016 - group photo ROBOTICS@FER.HR, LARICS participated together with LABUST and LAMOR as the exhibitor at the European Robotics Forum ERF 2016 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. ERF 2016 is the largest gathering of roboticists in Europe with more than 600 participants and more than 20 exhibitors showing their robots and robotic solutions. Three FER robotics laboratories presented at their stand several exhibits including a heavy load carrying quadrocopter, an autonomous surface vehicle for marine operations and a robot for exploration in hazardous environments. Many new contacts and presentations held during the numerous Forum sessions are valuable stocks for future projects.

Visit of Prof. Takahashi from the University of Tokyo

Prof. ToTakahashiNAOmotaka Takahashi from the University of Tokyo made a short tour in Croatia visiting on his way the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing too. His lecture was attended by more than 500 people interested to hear one of the global celebrities in the world of robotics. Prof. Takahashi showed deep interest in the robotics projects conducted in three robotics laboratories at FER, LARICS, LABUST and LAMOR, emphasizing during his lecture that he was very pleased with what he was able to see. Frano Petric prepared one of NAO robots for the Tic-Tac-Toe match with Prof. Takahashi, which amused all people being present, including his excellency, ambassador Mr.Keiji Ide and secretary Mr. Ryohei Nakajima.

Successful EC-SAFEMOBIL Final Review Meeting in Brussels

Prof. Zdenko Kovacic, BrusselsFinalECSAFEDr. Tamara Petrovic and Goran Vasiljevic attended the EC-SAFEMOBIL Final Review Meeting in Brussels, Belgium where they presented and successfully defended the results of the last project period of LARICS research team in this FP7 project. The meeting finished successfully with the positive feedback of the Project Officer and the Review Committee members.

The EC-SAFEMOBIL project was devoted to the development of sufficiently accurate motion estimation and control methods and technologies in order to reach levels of reliability and safety to facilitate unmanned vehicle deployment in a broad range of applications. It also included the development of a secure architecture and the middleware to support the implementation. As shown in the final experiments video, the EC-SAFEMOBIL project developed world first technology demonstrators in several applications dealing with the landing of UAVs on mobile platforms in challenging conditions, the launching of an UAV from a manned vehicle, the surveillance, and the automated warehousing involving a large number of autonomous vehicles.

JOBSTEM laboratory visits

Jobstem-logoWe were proud to host nearly three hundred elementary school students in our lab during the last few weeks. These visits were organized as experimental intervention within the JOBSTEM project, aimed towards determining how are STEM careers aspirations formed and how are these aspirations influenced by different factors such as gender, family characteristics and early exposure to STEM field. During their visit to our laboratory, Barbara, Antun, Damjan and Frano introduced  the students to basic concepts in robotics through our aerial, ground and humanoid robots.

Schneider Electric donated I/O modules for Modicon M238 PLCs

Our laboratory has received a valuable donation of Schneider Electric, Zagreb. We have got eight analog I/O modules as add-ons to the eight previously donated Modicon M238 PLCs. This donation will enable our students to solve complex control problems in their automation and robotics projects and laboratory exercises. We take this opportunity to thank Schneider Electric for their continuous support to the quality of education in these two vibrant areas.

Ivica Draganjac defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation

In front of the assessment committee ( Prof. Stjepan Bogdan, Prof. Zdenko Kovacic, and Prof. Mladen Crnekovic), LARICS PhD student Ivica Draganjac mentored by Prof. Kovacic successfully presented and defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation entitled „Decentralized Control of Free Ranging Automated Guided Vehicles in Automated Warehouses“. The aim of his doctoral dissertation is to extend the current state of the art practice in the Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Systems area and eliminate limitations present in current systems due to the use of centralized control architectures and predefined paths of AGVs. Contribution is intended to be achieved by development and implementation of a stable and efficacious decentralized control algorithm which ensures the following characteristics: autonomy of AGVs in respect of path planning and motion coordination; scalability of system for an increasing number of AGVs; system flexibility in terms of dynamic allocation of transport tasks and changes in the working environment; and resistance to failures of AGVs.

Start of new project ADELE funded by Ford Motor Company

LARICS received a grant from Ford Motor Company for a 3-year project Advanced evolutionary learning based methods for optimal characterisation of non-linear aftertreatment technologies (ADELE) whose main focus of research will be on LNT (Lean NOx Trap) models. The task is to establish methods and algorithms for optimal transfer of the measured data into the existing models or identify the need for specific model features that need to be added or enhanced in order to improve the model prediction quality. Funding is provided through the FORD Global University Research Programs (URP). Edin Koco and Goran Vasiljevic form a core of the LARICS research team together with the LARICS PhD student Slaven Glumac. The partner in the project is Ford Research Center Aachen represented by LARICS alumni Dr. Mario Balenovic.

ASSISIbf Training FER 2015

On 16 December 2015 the ASSISIbf LARICS team organized a training at the local Faculty for their master students. The larics_webpurpose of the training was to present, through selected lectures and a practical session, the overall goals of the ASSISIbf project and the results accomplished in the first half of the project.

Prof. Bogdan gave talk on general concepts of the project. The students could find out what is the FET programmeFOCAS initiative, collective adaptive systems and the methodology applied within the project. Dr. Damjan Miklić and Karlo Griparić presented the software and hardware architecture developed for facilitating ethological experiments on honeybees. The emphasis was put on distributivity and modularity of the system.

In the practical session, the task for the students was to program Combined Actuator Sensor Units (CASUs), which are being developed within the project. LARICS staff prepared the arena with fully functional four CASUs and each CASU was given to a group of 3 students to program. Bristlebots were used to mimic the motion of bees and the task was to develop a CASU controller which detects the tiny robots and reacts to their presence by changing CASU temperature and color.

Demonstration of NAO robots to scholars from primary school Fran Galovic

Frano Petric has been the demonstrator of small NAO humanoid robots to pupils from the primary school Fran Galovic from Zagreb. The visit of young scholars is a part of the STEM popularisation program Šuza supported by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing. It was interesting to read the impressions of the kids published on the school web page. This reminds us all to keep the spirit of child’s curiosity and happiness in seeing and learning new things.

LARICS researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences

20151204_140834Prof. Zdenko Kovacic, Prof. Ivana Palunko and Dr. Domagoj Tolic visited the research group of Prof. Ji-Feng Zhang, director of the Institute of Systems Science, Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science at the Chinese Academy of Science. The visit is the part of the on-going bilateral project „Coordination Control of Multi-agent Systems“ funded by Chinese and Croatian governments. The visit included presentations of currently pursued projects, both at the Croatian and Chinese side. Well known hospitability of our hosts allowed us to enjoy our stay to full extent – we enjoyed in good food, beautiful weather with no smog at all, and a lot of sight seeing including the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. We would like to thank our Chinese friends for all kindness and care they showed for us. We are waiting for them to come soon in our lab.

LARICS Seminar in Tinjan

tinjanLARICSseminarA traditional LARICS seminar has been held this year in pictoresque Istrian town Tinjan. Preparations for the meeting took several days as the schedule of all presentations and organization of the accompanying social program engaged all LARICS human resources strengthened by Prof. Nikola Miskovic from LABUST. In spite of sudden health problems of Dr. Damjan Miklic on the way to Tinjan, he found the strength to supervise the social program so well that the majority of seminar attendees agreed that the quality of social program significantly outperformed the quality of scientific presentations. This is a warning to the LARICS scientific committee to pick next time a less attractive destination.

European Robotics Week on FER

logo_euRobotic_weekSince 2014 the European Robotics Week has become a major robotics event in many places all over Europe. The coordinator for Croatia is LARICS postdoctorand dr. Matko Orsag. LARICS, together with other two FER robotics laboratories, LAMOR and LABUST, opened widely laboratory doors to visitors and prepared several demonstrations of various robotics equipment for air, ground, and under water operation.

University of Zagreb fair

Two LARIlogo_smotreCS projects were selected to represent the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing on the University of Zagreb fair, which was held in Student Centre from November 12-14, 2015.

High-school seniors and university students were able to see our quadruped walking robot Dynarobin and play tic-tac-toe with one of our NAO robots. We also showcased some of our research on the ADORE project. We got a lot of media coverage from major Croatian TV stations and were visited by the Rector of our University, professor Boras. Our excellent presentation was acknowledged with an award for best presentation.

Rene opens the Interliber fair

Nao at Interliber.

Nao announcing the Interliber fair.

Rene, the media darling among our Nao robots, was a special guest at the press conference that kicked off this year’s Interliber, the 38th international book and teaching appliances fair. He was invited to announce the opening of the fair by reading a passage from The Little Prince, his favorite book. As an experienced media personality, he did not succumb to stage fright in front of the cameras and delivered a flawless reading performance, as you can  see for yourself. The story was covered by Croatia’s most read daily newspaper, Večernji List and by the independent TV channel Mreža TV.

Together with Edith and Leclerc, Rene will entertain and educate the visitors of Interliber on Thursday, November 12 within the  Science corner program. Join us for a game of tic-tac-toe and a presentation of some of the skills our Nao robots have acquired within the ADORE project.

LARICS at Conference on Innovation-driven Defense Enterprising

Prof. Zdenko Kovacic and Tomislav Haus participated as presenters at the Conference on Innovation-driven Defense Enterprising organized by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia. The titles of their lectures were “Design and Control of Professional Service Robots for Exploration and Inspection in Hazardous Environments” and “Aerial Robots – Mobile Manipulation using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”. It was a unique opportunity for LARICS to present some of research results that might have potential for innovation-driven defense enterprising.

Marko Filipovic defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation

In front of the assessment committee (Prof. Zdenko Kovacic, Prof. Stjepan Bogdan, and Prof. Bojan Jerbic), LARICS doctoral student Marko Filipovic mentored by Prof. Bogdan successfully presented and defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation entitled „Robot Workstation Failure Recovery Strategy“. The Committee agreed upon expected scientific contributions and thereafter, the Faculty Council and the Technical Committee of the University of Zagreb should still approve the given topic proposal.

Inspection of Kudankulam nuclear power plant

LARICindijaS researcher Edin Koco spent one month in India with Croatian company HRID d.o.o. He was involved in inspection tasks of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) in Kudankulam nuclear power plant located in south India. Collaboration between LARICS and HRID resulted in development of software package FIONA for controlling the reactor inspection system. The software visualizes the RPV and inspection system in 3D and allows remote control for secure navigation of the inspection system and ensures collision free scan trajectory generation. During his visit to India Edin provided software support during the inspection process for any unexpected problems that arose during the inspection.

European Researchers’ Night in Zagreb

We are happy to have been a part of European Researchers’ Night, a manifestation that takes place every year on last Friday of September across Europe, with more than 30 countries and 300 cities involved. This year we were present with our NAO robots, showcasing our research on the ADORE project. Additionally, our ex-students presented the hexapod robot they developed while working on the graduate thesis and used this opportunity to promote their company and learning platform STEMI.