Objective #1: Launch and run three industrially-relevant challenges
As a key factor for driving innovation in European robotics and manufacturing, it is the main objective of this project to strengthen collaboration and cross-fertilisation between the industrial and the research community. Towards this aim we want to launch and run three industrially relevant challenges in European robotics with applicability to the factory of the future. These challenges cover the most promising application scenarios, and thus, product visions, of the European robotics industry; namely (with increasing timelines for productisation):
Objective #2: Empowering robotics platforms and benchmark infrastructures
The second objective of this project is to empower robotics platforms and benchmark infrastructures to enable innovators to focus on their “challenging” research rather than wasting time with platform-related low-level problems and maintenance. Likewise the environments in which the platforms should operate will be set-up in such a way that they allow for the comparison of different methodological approaches to solving typical manufacturing use cases. On the Robot side system architecture frameworks, programming and simulation frameworks, and open interfaces on lowest levels will be provided. Furthermore, high-level functionality in the areas of perception, planning and control will be provided as to enable the challengers to test and validate their R&D work in meaningful contexts (typical use cases). Software components with the same functionality but different implementation and performance will become interchangeable, and therefore, comparable. By granting numerous researchers and technology developers access to these platforms and benchmark environments and by offering intensive support through hosts and robot manufacturers, it is expected that the platforms will be lifted to unprecedented performance levels towards the end of this project. For the first time, we will experiment new Internet-based technological solutions for granting access to a very large number of challengers to the simulation as well as to the early stage experimental challenges. We plan to provide, for one specific setup, full and safe remote access for programming the robots over the web as well as for using distributed computing resources. If this concept proves to be viable and efficient, it could open up entirely new perspectives and possibilities for future challenges by exploiting the multiplicative potential of cloud technologies.
Objective #3: Sustainability and adaptability to end users
The third objective of this project is to develop sustainable solutions: Developed application solutions will be continuously tested and validated, first in realistic (benchmark environments) and then in real environments. Installations throughout the project will see increasing levels of maturity. Although driven by end-user requirements, the researched and developed solutions will be sufficiently general so that they could be applied to other end users, tasks and situations, and enable a fast commercialisation. Robustness will have to increase significantly to let the robots eventually work continuously. Finally, methodologies and tools shall be developed that allow carrying out further comparative challenges. Following this methodology, clear benchmarking criteria and evaluation processes shall be defined. Problems that cannot be solved within the timeframe of this project will be fed into the updating process of the robotics and the Factory of the Future roadmaps.