Fields of Application

Space Robotics

Space Robotics: SpaceClimber
Space Robotics: SpaceClimber (Photo: Studio Banck GmbH & Co. KG)

The research area Space Robotics deals with the development of intelligent robots for extraterrestrial exploration focusing on:

  • Development of robot systems for unstructured, uneven terrain based on biologically inspired innovative locomotion concepts
  • Development of multi-functional robot teams usable for different tasks ranging from in-situ examinations to the organisation and maintenance of infrastructure
  • Reconfigurable systems for planetary exploration
  • AI-based methods for autonomous navigation and mission planning in unknown terrain
  • Image evaluation, object recognition and terrain modelling
  • AI-based support systems for scientific experiments

Underwater Robotics

Underwater Robotics: CManipulator
Underwater Robotics: CManipulator (Photo: Jan Albiez, DFKI)

This area deals with the development and realization of Artificial Intelligence methods in underwater systems. Main points of research are:

  • Development of systems for user support in remote-controlled underwater vehicles employing virtual immersion methods
  • Design of methods for autonomous manipulation and mission planning of robot arms in underwater applications, particularly with state-of-the-art sensor technology, such as "Visual Servoing"
  • Image evaluation and object recognition with modular and intelligent underwater cameras
  • Design of control methods for next-generation autonomous underwater vehicles
  • Development of biologically inspired and energy-efficient methods of transport for underwater vehicles, such as oscillating systems

Electric Mobility

Electric Mobility: EO2 smart connecting car
Electric Mobility: EO2 smart connecting car (Photo: PR Fotodesign, edited by: DFKI)

In the field of electric mobility we are testing concepts for electric vehicles, battery charge technologies, and the collection of vehicle data. We are creating models for intelligent, environmentally sound, and integrated urban mobility. Our research focuses around:

  • Development and demonstration of innovative vehicle concepts 
  • Design of new approaches to mobility and traffic control, application support, technology integration 
  • Data collection by fleet tests with technologically different electric vehicles (see E-Mobility fleet in Research Facilities)
  • Coordination of the regional project office of the model region Electric Mobility Bremen/Oldenburg 
  • Virtualization of the model region, simulation of future, larger vehicle fleets, and predictions of the effects on the model region in terms of traffic volume, infrastructure needs, environmental pollution, and economic efficiency 
  • Creating a foundation for new business models and traffic concepts on the basis of the data previously collected

Logistics, Production and Consumer (LPC)

LPC: Robotlady AILA
LPC: Robotlady AILA (Photo: Studio Banck GmbH & Co. KG)

In this area, robots are developed to act autonomously and/or support humans in intralogistic, industrial and consumer scenarios. Our research focuses around the new robotics for the Industrie 4.0 and beyond:

  • intelligent human-robot collaboration using hybrid teams for production environments
  • development of cognitively enhanced robot capabilities for flexible manufacturing
  • modular, novel and safe robots for human-robot collaboration
  • autonomous mobile manipulation for intralogistics and manufacturing scenarios
  • innovative robotics solutions for inspection (for instance, ballast water tanks, ship structures, or tunnel boring machines)

Search and Rescue (SAR) & Security Robotics

SAR: Advanced Security Guard
SAR: Advanced Security Guard (Photo: Studio Banck GmbH & Co. KG)

In this area, robots will be developed to support rescue and security personnel. Main points of our research are:

  • Development of highly mobile platforms for indoor and outdoor applications
  • Development of autonomous systems that are able to identify potential victims (SAR) or intruders (Security)
  • Development and application of state-of-the-art sensor technology based on radar, laser scanner, and thermal vision to identify objects and persons, resp.
  • Embedding of robot systems into existing rescue and security infrastructures
  • Autonomous navigation and mission planning

Assistance- and Rehabilitation Systems

Representation of various components within the scope of Assistance- and Rehabilitation Systems
Representation of various components within the scope of Assistance- and Rehabilitation Systems (Source: Niels Will, DFKI)

This field deals with robotic systems that can support humans in complex, exhausting or often repeated tasks. Application areas are both help during activites of everyday life (at home or work) and medical rehabilitation. Support can either take place using systems the human is wearing like
exoskeletons or orthoses, or by service robots performing the respective

Core topics include:

  • Concept development, design and construction
  • intelligent hardware-system architectures
  • software architectures
  • embedded biosignal analysis, e.g. using information from:

    • muscle (EMG)
    • eye (eyetracking, EOG)
    • or from brain activity (EEG)
    • fusion of different sensors

  • direct online signal processing (hard- and software)
  • robust learning systems capable to adapt
  • joint communication layers for better human-machine interaction
  • (semi-)autonomously acting systems
  • assist-as-needed
last updated 09.01.2018
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