09.04.2018 change 09.04.2018

"Chrząszcz" - an autonomous robot built by students from Wrocław will compete in the US

"Chrząszcz" (Beetle) is an autonomous robot that can avoid obstacles and find its way to the destination. It was constructed by Wrocław University of Science and Technology students. At the end of April the robot will start in international competitions in Silicon Valley in the US.

According to Mateusz Michalak, president of the Robotics Science Club "KoNaR" at Wrocław University of Science and Technology, "Chrząszcz" is designed primarily to operate outdoors.

"Its innovation lies in the fact that it has to find its own way in this space, for example detect a walking person, an obstacle, a puddle, avoid it or react in another way and reach a its destination" - explains Michalak.

The robot weighing 6 kg was built on a platform of a remotely controlled car, in which students completely modified the electronics.

"Initially the robot was remote controlled, now it is equipped with a supercomputer, as well as three boards that we designed ourselves" - explains the president of KoNaR.

One of the boards designed by students controls the power supply, because the robot has different voltage sources and levels. Another board receives signals from the computer and controls the motors. The third one is a typical sensor board that primarily supports the AHRS sensor, a combination of a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer.

Each wheel of the vehicle has an independent suspension and drive. Students also installed a GPS receiver and a lidar, a device that resembles a radar but uses light instead of microwaves.

"The robot receives a GPS signal, so it has its location data. It is equipped with a lidar that can detect obstacles in its immediate surroundings. On the basis of these data, as well as the programmed destination, it plans a route and chooses the shortest path to get to the designated point while avoiding obstacles that it detects on its way" - describes Michalak.

The robot will also have a special housing to protect it against rainfall and mechanical damage. Modified batteries are sufficient for almost two hours of operation, resulting in a range of up to several dozen kilometres.

"Chrząszcz" was developed for the international competition RoboGames, which will be held in San Francisco in Silicon Valley at the end of April.

"The competition, in which we will start, is called Robomagellan. In the competition, we will get GPS coordinates of a traffic cone. The task of the robot is to avoid various obstacles, such as trees or high curbs, reach the traffic cone and touch it" - explained the co-creator of the robot, Łukasz Chojnacki.

One of the innovative solutions used in the robot is a stereovision camera that allows the robot to detect the position of its destination point. "We used artificial intelligence algorithms, machine learning, and using these algorithms the robot is able to detect the traffic cone, identify the angle at which it is located and reach it" - he adds.

The solutions and technologies used by Wrocław students are also used in autonomous cars and robots that have to determine their position.

"The technologies that we develop in this platform can be easily applied in various autonomous vehicles, including autonomous cars. I hope that in the future we will see such vehicles in Wrocław" - concludes Chojnacki.

PAP - Science in Poland

author: Kamil Szubański

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