Since March 2022, the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center has a 550 m² multifunctional hall for the setup and execution of robotic experiments. The hall is divided into an cater landscape (about 1/3 of the total area) and a flexibly usable experimental area (about 2/3 of the total area). The experimental area currently houses two longer-term installations, the HRC area and the Locomotion test facilities.
The hall has a ceiling height of > 10 m, allowing experiments with flight-capable systems. A gantry crane for up to 12.5 t payload is available in the hall and can be moved up to above the crater landscape. The experimental fields in the hall can be flexibly supplied with 230 V, three-phase current, network, and compressed air via floor shafts to carry out different experiments.
The entire area of the hall is covered by a Vicon motion tracking system, which can measure the pose of several systems in parallel with high precision. A total of 21 cameras covers both the general experimental area and the crater landscape. The system can be operated from a central control station.
Three integration rooms with about 24 m² area each and one integration room with 44 m² area are directly connected to the hall. Thus, integration, repair and maintenance work can be carried out in short cycles with test runs in the hall.
Contact person: Dipl.-Ing. Roland Sonsalla
The crater landscape was built using data from real south polar craters on the moon and photos from the Apollo missions. The crater provides slopes from 15° to 45° for experiments. There are three continuous paths with 25°, 35° and 45° slopes. Screw points at regular intervals also allow the attachment of additional obstacles such as rocks. The crater is used to test free-climbing robotic systems and to vividly demonstrate the mobility of the systems developed at DFKI RIC. The load-bearing capacity is also designed for large systems, so that a wide variety of locomotion concepts can be tested. Since sandy substrates must also be explored on celestial bodies such as Moon and Mars, the area in front of the crater is filled with fine-grained granulate (< 1 mm). Lowering the area by about 30 cm allows modeling of small depressions and hills while the access to the multifunctional hall remains at ground level.
Heigher crater rim
Load capacity of the surface
In the area of the crater landscape, lunar lighting conditions can be simulated. For this purpose, the area can be separated from the rest of the multifunctional hall by a partition curtain. In addition, there are six spotlights on the walls, which on the one hand have active pan-tilt units for directional control and on the other hand are attached to active hoists via which the height of the spotlights can be adjusted in the room. Furthermore, the headlights are detachable, allowing them to be mounted along the walls at various positions of the hoists. The spotlights have 14500 lux at 10 m and a color temperature of 6,000 K, creating conditions similar to daylight. Due to the possibility of influencing the shape of the light cones by means of four shutters per spotlight, precisely delimited areas of light and shadow can be created. In addition, there are no overlapping areas of light, which would lead to undesirable areas of core shadow and penumbra in the crater landscape.
Test Facilities Locomotion
Contact person: Shubham Vyas, M.Sc.
For high repeatability and defined experiment conditions, the multifunctional hall contains a variable ramp that offers slopes from 0° to 45° in 5° increments, either in longitudinal or transverse direction. Variable floor plates for different substrates can be placed in the 3 m x 6 m bed of the ramp. Currently, a treadmill is installed, which allows continuous adjustments of walking characteristics. For this purpose, the system can measure the position of the robot and automatically adjust the belt speed so that its position automatically remains in the center of the tread. In addition, a crane above the treadmill allows the robot under test to be secured.
Contact person: Dr.-Ing. Dennis Mronga
In both industrial manufacturing and service robotics, robots will increasingly work side by side with and assist humans in the future. In the HRC (Human-Robot Collaboration) area of the multifunctional hall, assorted topics related to physical human-robot interaction and collaboration will be researched. The area is used to evaluate and demonstrate various robotic systems capable of human-robot collaboration and is part of the Robotics Innovation Center's HRC Lab.