Mobile, Adhoc-Cooperating Robot Teams
- 01.01.2017 to 30.06.2020
- Research Area:
- Human-Robot Interaction
FORobotics was a collaborative research project with the participation of 6 research partners and about 20 industrial companies. The goal of FORobotics was to unite mobile and ad-hoc cooperating robots in teams, as well as creating teams of robots and humans according to their capabilities. This was done with the aim of developing a more efficient and user-friendly work system in production. Within the framework of the project, innovative techniques and methods were developed and evaluated on the basis of a central use case, which was based on real scenarios from user companies. The project was funded by the Bayerische Forschungsstiftung (Bavarian Research Foundation) and coordinated by Fraunhofer IGCV.
In the age of digitalization, product life cycles are becoming increasingly dynamic and are subject to growing uncertainty. The planned flexibility corridors of production plants are increasingly reaching their limits. The term "adaptability" is therefore increasingly being used to describe approaches that make it easier to adapt production to unforeseen changes. Mobile, ad-hoc cooperating robot teams offer the potential to adaptively adjust to changing tasks and conditions. The research project made a significant contribution to this by addressing current trends to create a vision for the future.
In the FORobotics project, the IAW – Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft (Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics) – at RWTH Aachen University led subproject 5 – the empirical evaluation of human-robot interaction according to a systematic and user-oriented approach. The team cooperated closely with the other subprojects in the network in order to evaluate partial results of the partners iteratively and in total with regard to criteria of efficiency and user acceptance and to support the other teams with their occupational science expertise. The focus was also on holistic views of the production systems. In this way, findings were obtained that support companies in integrating the new robot technology into their overall operational structure.
FORobotics was characterized in its structure by a high degree of interdisciplinary networking, which was made possible by cooperation between the 6 subprojects “Dienstbasierte Betriebsmittel“, “Vernetzung“, “Aufgabenorientierte Planung“, “Interaktion“, “Empirische Nutzerevaluation“ and a demonstrator project. The solutions developed in the subprojects were implemented on the demonstrator on the basis of a defined use case. This was done in constant exchange with the industry partners, including regular thematic workshops and interim meetings.
The evaluation subproject represented a cross-sectional project that provided occupational science input for each of the other subprojects and empirically evaluated the research output on the basis of user studies in field studies and laboratory experiments. The empirically validated results were then fed back into the development process. A wide variety of empirical qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. The research results were made available to the public.
The work is a good basis for further research projects in the field of Industry 4.0, as well as for the industrial use of autonomous mobile robots. The results developed within the framework of FORobotics are providing new impetus for scientific research in the field of production technology. Based on an evaluation of existing approaches and the identification of missing solution components, a coherent overall concept was developed, whereby the integration of industrial application partners made it possible to focus on new questions arising from daily applications.