Latest entries written by Sebastian Reuter

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

First days @ GermanOpen 2015

Its Thursday evening - the second day of the German Open 2015. The last two days were intense. The integration of the software components took a lot of time - as always. And there is still way to go.
We are currently focusing on the exploration phase of the Logistics League Competition. In the exploration phase, the robots have to explore the factory area, detect machines and perceive the type of the machines by reading AR-tags. Our current progress can be seen in the following video.

The video shows two robots exploring the machines on the right side of the competition area. The two bots are exploring, far slower than we expect them to do. But a lot of tuning and skill optimization will help.
One robot crashes after a while. The other one shows a good behavior in passing a narrow passage to read the AR-tag on a machine. This takes a lot of time but its a safe drive. All in all, it seems that we are on the right track. The next days will show ;-)
Our first test-match will be tomorrow at 12:00 o'clock against the colleagues from france. We hope to score some good points.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on April 23, 2015 23:00

Day before GO2015

After weeks of preperation, Team Carologistics is now in the final test phase for GermanOpens in Magdeburg.
The last weeks have been intense. As we - again - started late with preperation, we now have all componets together for integration - at least most of the components. The rules of Logistics League have changed massively since last year. Thus, our system needed to be restructured and extended.

The major difference between 2014 and 2015 is that we now have to grasp objects and have to deal with a changing settings of the playground. The small pucks which were used as products in 2014 changed to be small cylinders in 2015. The teams have to grasp the cylinders from shelves and transport them among small production machines (that are called MPS - Mobile Production Station). The MPSes are randomly placed in the production area. Therefore, we developed a gripper and a lot of software for interfacing the gripper, recognition of cylinders, signal lights, ar-tags and a generator of a dynamic topological graph. Now, final test are running. We'll see if the components fit together in Magdeburg.

Right now, the tools and other stuff is packed and the busses are booked. Our Accommodation will be Ferienpark Plötzky - again. We are looking forward to a great event in Magdeburg....

Bots_before_GO2015 Team_before_GO2015 Stuff_GO2015

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on April 20, 2015 18:00

Preaseason 2015 just started

After our trip to Brasil in 2014 Team Carologistics has had some relaxed days - spending time with the family - doing nothing - getting some children - acquisition of further funding - thesis writing - making plans about 2015 and beyond .... and so on and so forth ....

We had luck to get one of the new Robotino3 platforms already last year. Thus, it was possible for Tim to get Fawkes running on the platform. The platform seems much better than the Robotino2 platform as it moves more smoothly - also on bumpy ground. Furthermore the new platform has more possibilities for mounting sensory etc.

This monday we met to talk about 2015 and to make plans for 2015. We are happy that most of our teammates decided to join the team for season 2015. On friday we received 3 more Robotino3 platforms which will be used as the robot team:

Next monday we will start to get our trainig facility prepared. As there will be some major rule-changes in 2015, we will have to disassamble our existing playground. To be continued.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on January 31, 2015 10:00

Thanks to our sponsors

The Carologistics Team would like to thank its Sponsors for the support in 2014. We are so happy our were rewarded and we received the WorldChampion title in 2014. Thank You. Without your support and encouragement our success wouldn’t have been possible. Special thanks go to Professor Sabina Jeschke, Professor Gerhard Lakemeyer and Professor Alexander Ferrein for supervision and the permanent support as well as to the SICK AG for supporting us with TIM5xx Laserscanners.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on August 14, 2014 09:00

German Open 2014

On the road to Robocup 2014 in Brasil, Team Carologistics has to proof itself at the German Open in Magdeburg,Germany. This year, six teams are taking part in the Logistics league in Magdeburg. Of these are four teams from germany - Magdeburg, München, Lüneburg and Aachen - one team from Biel, Swiss and one team from Lille, France. As strong changes have been made to the rulebook as well as the playground - the cards are re-shuffeled.(Please see for more details.) This year, the teams have to show that their robots are able to avoid collisions and track their own position on the large playground. As most teams have relied on odometry only to track their position and followed predefined paths without collision avoidance this means a large challange for them.

As always, this years' Team Carologistics is a mixed team of FH-Aachen and RWTH Aachen Bachelor, Master and PhD-Students.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on April 3, 2014 14:04

Carologistics powered by Sick

We just received a donation from the German Sensor Manufacturer Sick. They've sent us four Tim 5xx Laserscanners. Oh wee - totaly awesome. The Tim5xx has a range of up to 10 meters and is best suited for our needs. Heres a link to the specs: Tim5xx Specs. As the old Hokuyo URG had a range from 5 meters with a lot of noise, the robotinos fruequently lost their localization. With the new Tim5xx, this didn't happen in first tests As the field of the LogisticsLeague has a max width of 10meters, the distance is lower than the max range of the sensor. Thus, robotino stays localized on the entire field. Great thanks to Sick for these awesome Laserscanners !!!!

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on April 3, 2014 12:00

The playoffs in a nutshell

All in all, the playoffs were not satisfactory for the Carologistics Group. Low scoring and smaller bugs which were thought to had been fixed lead to a lead to the small final. In the end there were three teams which won twice - a comparison of the total amount of points of all playoff-games was to Carologistics disadvantage. With 10 points more than our group, Team robOTTO from Magdeburg made it to the final. Somehow sad, but eager to show our best performance, the Team goes for the win of the small final.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on June 29, 2013 23:00

From "T" like Technical Issues to Z like "Zero tolerance"

The playoff started with a lot of trouble this noon. After a good start in the exploration phase, suddenly the lights of the Venue-Tent switched of due to an overheating of one of the headlights. As the Carologistics Robots depend on an visual puck tracking by an omni-vision system, they need stable light circumstances. We had to pause the game and wait for the local organizers to switch the headlights on again. Fortunately the light came back and the robots continued their production. A smaller Bug in the field communication of the Referee Box extended the pause and lead to a necessary restart of the game.

The game continued to be disastrous. One of our robots hit a signal light. The contact was hard enough to hit the light out of its mounting. As the referees were uncertain whether the light has to stay unmounted or not (the official rulebook does not specify), a team-leader meeting had to be hold. The team-leader decided that the light has to be mounted again and the behavior will be punished by substracting 25% of the so far achieved points. Good for us, as the unmounted signal was of machine type T5 where easy scores are possible.

After these issues the game ended 70:82 for Carologistics which was corrected to 80:82 due to an synchronizing problem of the two competition fields. However, a win is a win.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on June 29, 2013 22:00

Playoffs - here we are

The development of Carologistics' summed points show that (besides minor up-and-downs) the system is robust against environmental changes and founds on stable low-level skills as well as a good high-level skill-base. From the first game on, the team was on second place – only the TUM Bending Unit from Munich performed better.

Nevertheless, one of the main drawbacks of the system is its navigation system. We are using an external navigation system (move_base from ROS) which uses a differential driver to plan its path. The Robotinos are equipped with an omni-directional drive and thus the planned (global and local) paths are suboptimal. To get the least out of the navigation the Team tries to tune parameters and develop driving skills where ever collisions are unlikely. For this year, this will all we can do but there has to be a major change in the navigation system till next year.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on June 29, 2013 12:00

Third day of round-robin

The last games of the Carologistics Group can best be described as mediocre.

Starting with an average run with many unfortunate network lags and localization problems the Bots only achieved 84 points. Knowing that the Bots could do it better the Team fixed smaller Bugs in the High-level Agent as well as on the skill-layer below.

After those improvements the team was confident to score high. But often, things come different. As before, network lags made a communication between the Robotino and the Referee Box difficult. Also a crash of two robots forced the Team to remove one robot from the field. Most of the time diving with collision avoidance but the robots sometimes have to switch to a “blind drive” mode as the machines have to be approached very closely. During the collision one of the robots was in this “blind drive” state and the other was too close to avoid the collision. So, we showed our worst game so far – poor 56 Points.

To come back to old performance, after an extensive team meeting, where we discussed the problematic game situations, the team worked eager to find and fix the bugs. The work was rewarded by the best run so far. Still having some issues with the localization, the Bots produced well and achieved a final score of 116 points. A new team record (so far).

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on June 29, 2013 08:00

LLSF Open Technical Challenge

The third day of the qualification round of the LLSF2013 began with an open technical challenge. The open challenge intends to give the teams room to present the advances of their system (hardware as well as software) and to showcase ideas for future developments of the league. This year only the Team TUMBendingUnits from Munich and the Carologistics Group from Aachen joined the challenge. Each team was given 5 minutes for their presentation.

The contribution of the Carologistics Group was a pick-and-place task which was developed by our student member Barahm Maleki-Fard during the first days at Eindhoven. He mounted a Jaco Arm from Kinova to a Robotino Chassis and showed a smooth pick-and-place. A Video of the presentation can be found on the Carologistics Youtube Channel.

The presentation showed the robotino sensing small pucks with a webcam and grasping the closest object. In case of a movement of the object the system recognizes a missed grasp and repeats by sensing. After a successful grasp the robot navigates to a table and places the object on top of it.

The presentation should show how the league could evolve in the near future. A possible future extension of the league could be the introduction of grasping tasks or more general an introduction of heterogeneously actuated robots. This would enable the league to allow different shapes of products (right now different product-variants are distinguished by RFID). Furthermore, the concept of a machine could be extended – products could be lifted up and put into the machine or a conveyor belt.

Posted by Sebastian Reuter on June 28, 2013 00:00