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Carologistics defend the championship title at the RoboCup German Open Logistics League

The Team Carologistics, which is composed of researchers and students of the Cybernetics Lab IMA & IfU, the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (both RWTH Aachen University), and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences) successfully defended the German championship title in the RoboCup Logistics League for the fourth time in a row. The RoboCup German Open took place from 25 to 29 April at the Magdeburg exhibition halls.

After an exciting group phase, the Carologistics started into the playoffs leading with 106 points, one point ahead of the runner-up GRIPS from Graz University of Technology. After the playoffs, both teams faced each other again in the final.

In the final against GRIPS, also the runner-up of last year's international RoboCup, the game was extended by an overtime of 5 minutes for the first time in the history of RoboCup Logistics League because both teams were tied at the end of the regular game. The Carologistics then took the lead by two points and kept it until the end of the game. At the end of the game, they could almost score another two points, but - as in the World Cup in Japan - the final action was finished one second after the end of the game and so the game ended with a narrow lead of Carologistics.

In the RoboCup Logistics League, two teams compete with up to three autonomous mobile robots in an intralogistics scenario against each other. The playing field is a smart factory from the context of the Industry 4.0, where intelligent machines manufacture complex products in varying production environments.The scenario is particularly characterized by the comprehensive communication and cooperation of the mobile robot. In the first phase of the game, each robot team explores the previously unknown playing field, creating a common "world view". In the second phase, the electronic referee (RefBox) announces complex products that must be produced cooperatively within certain time-windows. In this phase, the robots have to re-plan frequently, as the opponent plays on the same field and therefore the accessibility of paths or machines is always subject to variations. Machines spontaneously switch to a maintenance condition and can not be used at this time, and because individual steps such as grasping a product may fail occasionally.

In preparation for the RoboCup World Championships in Montreal, Canada in June, the team will focus on improving the gripper system to allow more robust autonomous grasping of work pieces in order to make full use of the newly developed agent system.

Posted by Till Hofmann on May 1, 2018 09:00

Carologistics win the fourth world championship in Japan

The team Carologistics (RWTH Aachen and FH Aachen) was able to defend their title as world champion of the RoboCup Logistics League against team GRIPS from Graz with 58 to 28 points in a very exciting final on July 30.

In the RoboCup Logistics League, two teams compete with up to three autonomous mobile robots in an intralogistics scenario against each other. The playing field is a smart factory from the context of the Industry 4.0, where intelligent machines manufacture complex products in varying production environments.The scenario is particularly characterized by the comprehensive communication and cooperation of the mobile robot. In the first phase of the game, the robot team explores the previously unknown playing field, creating a common "world view". In the second phase, the electronic referee (RefBox) announces complex products that must be produced cooperatively. In this phase, the robots have to re-plan frequently, as the opponent plays on the same field and therefore the accessibility of paths or machines is always subject to variations, because machines spontaneously switch to a maintenance condition and can not be used at this time, and because individual steps such as grasping a product may fail occasionally.

In this year's finals, the production phase started with an exciting head-to-head race of the two opponents. The first finished product of team Carologistics was lost in a slight, rule-compliant collision with a GRIPS robot. The team from Graz was able to keep up by preparing additional production steps. Only with the second produced and first successfully delivered product, Carologistics gained an advantage that ultimately lead to Carologistics’ triumph. A third product was also produced, but was delivered two seconds after the end of the game and thus no longer counted.

The Carologistics, which won the world championship for the fourth consecutive time, consists of scientists and students of the Cybernetics Lab IMA/ZLW & IfU (RWTH Aachen, Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Sabina Jeschke), the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (RWTH Aachen, Computer Science, Prof. Gerhard Lakemeyer), and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen, Electrical Engineering and information technology, Prof. Alexander Ferrein). This year was a very special RoboCup. Exactly 20 years after the very first RoboCup in Nagoya, Japan, RoboCup returned to its birthplace.The Carologistics could not only inspire tech-savvy people with their robots, but to the delight of the spectators, they also moderated their games in Japanese. In addition to the world title, the Carologistics won the Technical Challenge, where different types of machines had to be identified only by image processing and without the normally used AR tags, and where the teams had to play a game in a cloud-based simulation.

Next year the RoboCup will be held from June 15 to June 22 in Montreal, Canada. In addition, there will be another German Open in Magdeburg.

Posted by Till Hofmann on August 1, 2017 09:00

RoboCup Logistics Software Stack Release 2016

RCLL 2016 Simulator Screenshot The Carologistics RoboCup Team has released their software stack of 2016 based on Fawkes 1.0.0 for the RoboCup Logistics League. It is a continuation of the release last year. It includes, for example, direct communication with the Robotino for time-stamped and faster data access and many improvements to the basic skills of the robot, tooling, and simulation integration.

The following video shows the RoboCup 2016 finals between the Carologistics and Solidus. The released software stack is the one used by the Carologistics team, which won the competition.

Details about the release and a video of the simulation are available on the RCLL software stack 2016 release page.

Posted by Tim Niemueller on February 8, 2017 14:00

Carologistics win third-in-a-row RCLL title

In a breath-taking final, the joint team Carologistics from RWTH and FH Aachen was able to defend their title against team Solidus from Switzerland with 94:26. This is the third championship in a row that the team won in the RoboCup Logistics League at the international RoboCup competitions . The team consists of researchers and students from the Cybernetic Cluster (RWTH Aachen, Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Sabina Jeschke), the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (RWTH Aachen, Computer Science, Prof. Gerhard Lakemeyer) and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Prof. Alexander Ferrein).

RoboCup 2016 champions photo

In the RoboCup Logistics League two teams compete with three autonomous mobile robots each in an intra-logistics scenario. The scenario reflects the idea of an industry 4.0 setting, where intelligent machines take over building complex products in a dynamic production process. First, robots have to explore their environment to locate and identify the machines available. Then, an optimal flow of material using these machines is planned and realized.

This year again a technical challenge was held. It features taks alongside the main competition to test possible future developments of the league. One goal amongst others was to locate the modular production stations without the help of markers (e.g. QR or AR tags). The team Carologistics was able to reach first place in this challenge as well. Apart from this challenge, for the first time, a RoboCup Industrial Cross-Over-Challenge was arranged. In this challenge teams from the RoboCup Logistics League and from RoboCup@Work collaboratively work on a common task. The Carologistics team already published their software in 2014 and 2015 and they were awarded the third place of the 1st International Harting Open Source Award.

Besides their strong basic capabilities in environment perception and navigation the robots from the Aachen Carologistics team scored with their robust decentralized multi-agent strategy. This strategy is particularly fitted for highly complex, only partially known and dynamic environments. After a convincing preliminary round and playoff-phase the Carologistics had to face team Solidus from Switzerland in the grand final. With a strong performance the Aachen robots were able to clearly secure their victory. This also reinforces Aachen's current role as a leading place for science and research in mobile robotics and artificial intelligence.

Next year, after 21 years RoboCup will be held in its birth place Nagoya in Japan again, where was held for the first time in 1996.

(Text translated from the German Press Release by Stefan Schiffer)

Posted by Christoph Henke on July 11, 2016 11:30

Robocup 2016 in Leipzig - the story begins

We made it to Leipzig yesterday. After watching the germans reach the quarterfinals, we enjoyed the beatiful sunset at our lake. Today we did a sightseeing tour through Leipzig by Bus and visited the very impressive Monument to the Battle of the Nations called 'Völkerschlachtdenkmal'. Now we are back to hacking at the lake...

Posted by Johannes Rothe on June 27, 2016 19:00

Successful Winter School

RoboCup Logistics League Winter School Group PhotoFrom December 7th to 11th, the Carologistics Team organized the first RoboCup Logistics League Winter School in Aachen, Germany. Participants of new and existing teams from Germany, Austria, and Japan attended the event. The winter school was held to help new teams to start into the league and existing teams to adapt to the invasive rule changes performed in the past few years.

The content was based on the (pending) full 2015 software stack release of the Carologistics team to better understand and tackle the problems of perception, navigation and self-localization, using and extending the RCLL simulation and the behavior sub-systems like the Lua-based Behavior Engine and the CLIPS agent.

The winter school was supported by Festo Didactic SE and the RoboCup Federation. The feedback of the participants was very positive and the team enjoyed sharing and discussing ideas with the RCLL community at large!

We are currently preparing the material and will release the videos of the talks in January. The slides and information material can be found on the winter school wiki page.

Posted by Tim Niemueller on December 15, 2015 13:37

RoboCup Logistics League Winter School 2015

The RoboCup Logistics League (RCLL) is one of the youngest of the RoboCup leagues. It is an application-driven league inspired by the industrial scenario of a smart factory. In 2015, the introduction of MPS processing stations and increasing the number of possible products from 3 to nearly 240 has made the RCLL more complex and challenging.

The Carologistics RoboCup team, which won the competition in 2014 and 2015, intends to organize a RoboCup Logistics League Winter School in Aachen, Germany. The purpose is to disseminate the state of the art in the RCLL. This winter school targets new and existing teams for the RCLL. For new teams it will lower the barrier to enter the competition by learning from an existing open-source software stack and simulation. Theoretical sessions will detail the applied methods in fields like perception, navigation, simulation, or behavior. This will be be supplemented by practical hands-on sessions.

More information and a link for the registration is available on the RoboCup Logistics League Winter School 2015 page.

Posted by Tim Niemueller on November 3, 2015 13:00

Bonding Hackathon 2015

Together with Bonding we hosted the Bonding Hackathon for the third time in a row. 47 students split up in small teams and hacked through the night.

The scenario was a nuclear catastrophe and the teams had to bring nuclear fuel rods from the reactor to some decay tanks. They got points by successfully delivering a fuel rod to a decay tank. The decay tanks were hidden and randomly placed on the field. We also placed random obstacles on the field. The better the tanks were hidden the more points you got, from 1 to 3 points. The tanks and the reactor were identified by AR-tags. The teams had to rescue 3 fuel rods, so there were different strategies. Either to find the 3 point decay tank, which is hard to find, or just use the 1 point decay tank. The scenario was represented in our simulation based on gazebo, so the teams could run through a lot of testing cycles, before testing on the real hardware.

We offered the students first-hand knowledge and experience in robotics, whilst Bonding took care of them with free food and soft drinks during the whole night.

The sponsors (Bosch, Continental and IVU Traffic Technologies) provided some exiting prices for the top 3 teams. The first place won a trip to the Bosch ConnectedWorld Conference in Berlin. Alltogether it was a great event and we look forward to next years Bonding Hackathon.

Here are videos of the final and the winning teams skill in the simulation:

Posted by Johannes Rothe on November 3, 2015 11:16

We won Robocup 2015 in the Logistics League!

We won Robocup 2015 in the Logistics League! Although having some problems during the first games of the competition we were able to stabilize our exploration for the final and even managed to deliver products correctly. Team Solidus proved to be a worthy opponent and achieved only 8 points less in the exploration phase (you get 8 points for one explored machine). The end result was 46:16 for Carologistics.

The new setup with new machines turned out to be a big challenge and we hope to speed up our production for the next year. But for now we will celebrate the first place before returning to Germany on Friday.

Team members from left to right:
First row (kneeling): Johannes Rothe, Matthias Löbach
Second row: Tobias Neumann, Tim Niemueller, Sebastian Reuter
Third row: Nicolas Limpert, Victor Mataré, Frederik Zwilling
Fourth row: Randolph Maaßen
Missing in this picture: Prof. Dr. Alexander Ferrein, Prof. Dr. Sabina Jeschke, Prof. Gerhard Lakemeyer, Ph.D.,
Dr. Daniel Ewert, Mostafa Ashraf, Sebastian Schönitz

Posted by Johannes Rothe on July 22, 2015 12:00

Second competition day

The competitions of the second day are over. We are slowly improving game performance, but are still lacking in scoring. The afternoon and evening are used for fixes and new features. We are now preparing for another training game to stabilize all components.

Posted by Johannes Rothe on July 20, 2015 17:00

First competition day

Yesterday we had our first competition day. We did score less than we would've wished, but managed not to lose one. We are optimistic to score better tomorrow though if we manage to fix our worst issues.

Posted by Johannes Rothe on July 19, 2015 17:00

Welcome to China

We arrived safely in Hefei and made first contact with Chinese culture. We are currently assembling the robots for the competitions which start on Sunday.

Posted by Johannes Rothe on July 17, 2015 17:00

New Publications ICAPS and RC 2014 and 2015

We have added several new publications to our page.

Posted by Tim Niemueller on June 25, 2015 14:30

Winner German Open 2015

The Carologistics RoboCup team was successful again this year at the RoboCup German Open 2015.

This year, the league used actual processing stations based on the Festo Modular Production System (MPS) for the first time. Additionally, the machines were placed freely within certain zones on the field (therefore neither the exact position nore orientation was known before the game) and the number of product variants increased from 3 to almost 300. This made several adjustments necessary to the robot teams as well as to the referee box, the program controlling the environment and machines during the game.

By the end of the tournament we were able to almost complete the exploration phase with only a single machine missing. The robots then executed the first steps for the production phase, but eventually failed as the handling of the machines was not yet precise enough. The robots coordinated to use the stations in the proper order, but the products were not placed properly on the conveyor belt. This is a challenge we will work on on the way towards RoboCup 2015 in Heifei.

Posted by Tim Niemueller on April 26, 2015 12:00

Let me introduce the Carologistics Robotino GO2015

In 2015, the robots have to handle pucks at working height of humans. Therefore, we switched to the new Robotino Version 3. Robotino 3 can handle higher payloads and has better hardware-interfaces for mounting components.
The following image shows our Robotinos including some modifications:
Carologistics Bot GO2015 For further computation power we added a Lenovo Thinkpad X230. The dualcore on the robotino platform is running an Ubuntu Linux and is responsible for hardware interaction (actuators, sensors). On the lenovo, the high-level components such as the behavior engine and our task-level reasoning agent as well as the computer vision components are running on fedora F20. As a middleware, the robot framework Fawkes is used on both robotino platform and lenovo notebook.
For collision avoidance, localization and wall alignment we use Sick Tim5xx LaserScanners. The LaserScanner were a donation from the Sick Sensor Solutions (thank you so much -again). The detection os AR-tags is done with simple Logitech Webcams mounted to the beam of the robotino. A second logitech mounted on top is used for detection of signal lights. To guarantee fixed angles we use serrated locking plates from Ganter Griff.
For grasping cylinders, we developed a gripper, following the example of our fellow RoboCupers from Liverpool. The gripper uses Dynamixel AX12+ motors and Fin Gripper Finger from Festo. The grippers enable us to cope with lateral offsets of the cylinders due to inexact positioning.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on April 24, 2015 11:00