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GET Lab team wins 3rd place at robot world championship
Date: 2016/07/06
Place: Leipzig, Germany
Link: http://www.robocup2016.org/en/schedule-results/results/robocup-rescue/rescue-robot-league/

For the first time, the GET Lab team consisting of scientists and students from Paderborn University participated in the robot world championship ‘RoboCup’ and took an outstanding third place and was the best European team in the league of rescue robots. In this competition, robots developed by international research teams operate in a replicated disaster environment, how it could appear after an earthquake or a terror attack. In such scenarios, it is of high priority to quickly explore the terrain and identify and locate injured people, so that they can be evacuated immediately. The rescue robot GETjag of Paderborn University had to manage several tasks in tele-operation as well as in autonomous mode. While localizing itself the robot had to create a 2D and 3D map of the environment containing the survivors’ positions that can be used by emergency workers to pointedly conduct rescue operations.

To achieve realistic conditions, victims are simulated at the RoboCup by dolls with vital functions like body temperature using heating blankets. Additionally speakers are used to present voices and little motors simulate movements. Even carbon dioxide is to be detected by the robots.

Team leader on site was Dirk Fischer. He reported: “Unlike at the national competitions, in which the team participated in the past, this year the robots had to face a number of standardized tasks from different fields and of different difficulty in the preliminaries.” Mawe Sprenger, student of the GET Lab and responsible for the tele-operation of the robot, says: “The new rules surely surprised all teams equally. Especially the large number of heats per day have been extremely exhausting and left little time for repairing the hardware and improving the software. Despite some hardware problems we were able to react flexible to the new rules and reach the finals, in which we could even enhance our performance.”

This year, the world’s largest competition of intelligent robots took place in Leipzig, Germany. The world championship of the ‘Rescue Robot League’ was started in 2002 as a reaction on the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, and is meant to advance the research and development in this area. The goal is to test robot research in practice-oriented applications. Further goals in the scope of rescue robotics are the construction of robust and highly mobile robots, the autonomous analysis of sensor data, the efficient mobile manipulation and the implementation of new human-robot-interfaces that support the control of the robot. The GET Lab is especially active in the development of autonomous algorithms for exploration, manipulation, inspection and mapping. Prof. Bärbel Mertsching, director of the GET Lab, explains: “The competition required an extreme robustness of the robots. The very good performance is to be valued even higher, as the focus of our work is on the implementation of intelligent algorithms and not on the construction of robust robot platforms.” Despite various hardware problems, the GETjag was able to overcome a variety of obstacles and handle a large number of tasks very well. 19 teams from around the world participated in this year’s RoboCup. The overall victory went to the team iRAP ROBOT of the King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok, Thailand, followed by the team MRL of the Islamic Azad University of Qazvin, Iran. As the best of three German teams, GET Lab team of Paderborn University ensured the third place in exciting finals and rewards itself for the excellent work of the whole team.

Team GETbot 2016

Team GETbot 2016 (f.l.t.r. upper row: Mawe Sprenger, Fabian Winkel, Daniel Gaspers, middle row: Daniel Nickchen, Steffen Grotenhöfer, Rafi Jakub, lower row: Mahmoud Mohamed, Dirk Fischer, Muhannad Mujahed) [Picture: Daniel Nickchen]

The robot GETjag of the GET Lab team

The robot GETjag of the GET Lab team [Picture: Daniel Nickchen]

The RoboCup trophy

The RoboCup trophy [Picture: Daniel Nickchen]