Agile Robotics: It’s about software at least as much as about hardware

Abstract– What are the main challenges towards robots that act at human-compatible speed in daily environments?  Our robots are today slower and/or less powerful than humans. Exploitation of intrinsic elasticities by appropriate control and planning approaches might provide a step forward. However, what makes our robots really slow is our software: perception, planning, task execution, error recognition and recovery – all these elements are today mostly far from real time. The complex and often inefficient middleware is a further element which massively slows down execution. Moreover, agility of robotic applications begins at the programming of tasks – which is today time consuming and reserved to experts. The talk will try to highlight some of the DLR approaches towards solving the above mentioned points.

RTEmagicC_Albu-Schaeffer_2010_small_01.jpgAlin Albu-Schäffer received his M.S. in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Timisoara, Romania in 1993 and his Ph.D. in automatic control from the Technical University of Munich in 2002. Since 2012 he is the head of the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which he joined in 1995. Moreover, he is a professor at the Technical University of Munich, holding the Chair for “Sensor Based Robotic Systems and Intelligent Assistance Systems”. His research interests range from robot design, control, planning, and learning to neuroscience. He is an author of more than 200 peer reviewed journal and conference papers and received several awards, including the IEEE King-Sun Fu Best Paper Award of the Transactions on Robotics in 2012 and 2014.