ISR Associate Research Scientist Raj Madhavan gave a plenary address at the 5th Robotics and Mechatronics Conference held in Pretoria, South Africa on November 26-27, 2012. Madhavan spoke on “Smart, Flexible, and Safe Industrial Mobile Robots: Evaluation & Benchmarking of Navigation Performance in Unstructured and Dynamic Environments.”
The talk focused on Madhavan’s work on testing and evaluation of Industrial Mobile Robots (IMRs) operating in warehouses and factory floors, development of test methods, and performance metrics. IMRs such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and forklifts are workhorses of the manufacturing industry, widely used on factory floors for intra-factory transport of goods and in warehousing applications. To offset prohibitively expensive maintenance and installation costs, and thus expand the IMR's markets and utility beyond what is possible today, it is imperative that the current dependency on infrastructure is to be minimized. The ability to allow humans near IMRs (safe), to cope with unknown environments (smart), and to adapt to human-centered collaboration (flexible) are critical enablers for their widespread use in manufacturing. Developing such safe, smart, and flexible automation has implications not only for the manufacturing industry but also has the potential to tackle many open-ended problems in mobile robotics today in many diverse domains including search and rescue, service robotics, to name a few.
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December 20, 2012