ERCIM News No.33 - April 1998

Ariadne - A Service Robot Team

by Liliane Peters, Hartmut Surmann, Michael Pauly and Nan Liang

A new generation of robots is on the verge of conquering the daily life: the service robots. This new type of robots aims to achieve a high level of flexibility, adaptability, and efficiency in environments populated by humans. The learning cycle is perpetual to insure its adaptability in steadily changing environments. The user of such a system is a non-technical person.

The aim of the project is to develop a team of autonomous intelligent service robots for indoor environments, able to:

The methodology behind the robot service team is based on fuzzy logic. This supports the developed low-level execution and high level planning, core of the system.

The building supports the robots with on-line data-bases like person lists or floor-plan, by giving access via radio link to the electronic driven doors, elevators, alarm systems, etc, or delivering status information from its own sensors. The robot team can up-date or inform the building about errors in its own data-base.

The interaction with humans is also a bilateral relationship. While services executed by robots is their purpose of existence, maintenance tasks needed by the robots and executed by humans are supported by a rewarding behaviour.

Major application areas are:

In the first scenario the variety of tasks is very large: from mail, lunch, or coffee distribution on schedule or on demand via internet during the day to patrolling at night. In the second and third scenarios the availability of the system round the clock and the ease of changing the transport work-flow is the major challenge. To support the planning and logistics of such robot service teams, the robot service group will be integrated into the virtual reality of the GMD-Cyberstage. Through this additional dimension not only the training of humans with such systems is enabled but also a simulation environment for strategic planning of a work-flow is possible.

Please contact:

Liliane Peters - GMD
Tel: + 49 2241 14 2332

Hartmut Surmann - GMD
Tel: + 49 2241 14 2518

Michael Pauly - GMD
Tel: + 49 2241 14 2152

Nan Liang - GMD
Tel: + 49 2241 14 2404

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