Complex tasks of robotics require the use of interdisciplinary fundamentals from engineering and natural sciences as well as modern digitalization techniques. The Zentrum für Telematik has been able to prove the integration of innovative solutions into goal-oriented complete systems of mobile robots in numerous concrete projects.
With the mobile, all-terrain outdoor robot vehicle MERLIN, the Zentrum für Telematik has its own mobile platform that can draw on a wide range of sensor technology from previous projects for the respective tasks in the field of application.
The MERLIN robot vehicles were adapted and used, for example, in the port area to support the property protection of a container terminal. Coordinated by a control centre, autonomous ground vehicles cooperated with aircraft for large-scale environmental monitoring. In this way it was possible to combine the endurance and the ground-near perspective, which is important for object protection, with the overview and speed of flying drones. This cooperating system of land and air vehicles has the ability of self-organization to perform its tasks robustly. For example, if communication losses occur, a formation is automatically established between ground and aircraft and a communication link is rerouted via the UAV.
Another example is the “Network for Environmental Monitoring”, which combines components from biology and technology to create the most efficient solution. Here, bees were used as an early warning system, collecting large areas of pollen containing trace substances from the collection environment. The beehives were equipped with spectral analysis and telematics devices in order to analyse the pollen when the bees return to the beehive and transmit the data to a control centre. The resulting information on harmful substances, which can be supplemented with positional information by observing the bees during their tailing dance, formed the basis for further investigations with the help of mobile robots that autonomously explore the target area. The establishment of the entire biosensor network required interdisciplinary cooperation in the fields of biology/zoology, chemistry, telematics, robotics and electronics in order to successfully master the challenges of system integration.
In order to provide rapid response in the event of a disaster, systems consisting of several flying drones are often required in order to gain a rapid overview of the situation through parallel reconnaissance flights. The Zentrum für Telematik is developing a system in the project “Air-Based Reconnaissance of the Operational Environment in 3D” that uses a drone to quickly create annotated 3D models of an operational environment for fire-fighting operations. The focus here is on modelling, flight path calculation, data transmission and, above all, ease of operation.
The specification and design of a multi-drone system for police operations is the subject of the AURAIS project, in which the Zentrum für Telematik is primarily concerned with the aspect of coordinating several small drones for rapid situation analysis.