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A thematic network on climbing and walking robots including the support technologies for mobile robotic machines

Objective



CLAWARNETWORK OVERVIEW:
The current trend in robotics has been for each application area (nuclear, construction, space, etc.) to develop its own specialised systems with little or no cross fertilisation between the different areas. This fragmented approach has led to considerable re-invention being carried out for each project even though the knowledge may be available elsewhere. Furthermore this approach has prevented a robotics industry to develop instead of a fragmented collection of robot manufacturers who need to produce all the designs and associated components in an isolated manner without any real supporting infrastructure. This project is aimed at redressing this imbalance and thus reducing the wastage of time, effort and resources in future projects, by setting up a thematic network in the area of mobile robotics. The Thematic Network brings together European engineers, scientists and industrialists so they can interact with each other in an effective manner and coordinate activities, and sharing of expertise can result. The network concentrates on climbing and walking robots (CLAWAR) and associated support technologies because this is an active area of research where much innovative work has been carried out in recent years. The network is carrying out several activities to introduce design unification into robotic systems as well as critically examining the state-of-the-art so that complementary research which should be supported by the Community as RTD projects can be indentified.

More specifically, the aims of the CLAWAR network are:- to keep up-to-date on the status of the CLAWAR technology and disseminate this information widely;- to pool information on user requirements in a variety of application areas;- to identify synergies and overlaps between users, manufacturers and researchers working in different application areas;- to define the user requirements as functionality modules and how best to achieve this modularity in future robotic designs;- to advise the EC and partners on future CLAWAR research priorities; and- to provide opportunities for the sharing of expertise and experiences via staff secondments.

The network encompasses key academic centres of excellence and industrial partners with interests in robotics either as suppliers (from component level to complete robots) or as potential users to work together during the Implementation Phase of CLAWAR. These partners, with assistance from key experts, are rationalising the fragmented research requirements for current and future robotic machines and defining the key features for modularity so that future research effort can be co-ordinated. In this manner, the immediate and future needs of users in a variety of applications areas (such as nuclear, construction, outdoor, off shore and leisure markets) can be satisfied.

EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP:
The requirements for robotic applications throughout Europe are wide-ranging, spanning areas where technology levels are low to areas which are already highly automated using the latest developments. The project reported here takes the initial steps towards finding a solution for the robotics community by focusing and co-ordinating activity within Europe, so that the current position can be determined and future developments assisted for all parties involved. It is extremely difficult and expensive to develop robotic for all situations, since there is no accepted generalised design procedure. To address this problem the network is looking at a range of applications and rationalising the requirements into discrete but generic modules, which can be integrated to form application specific designs in a straightforward manner. In this way the benefit to many application areas throughout Europe can be maximised. For this to work effectively, a comprehensive network is proposed with the key players involved in defining the best way forward for the CLAWAR industry. It is envisaged that when a coherent modularity philosophy has been developed and adopted, the process could lead to a coordinated industry able to develop products, which can be integrated with, those produced by other manufacturers. Such co-operation could lead to considerable commercial benefits for Europe.

POTENTIAL APPLICATIONSIndustrial interest has already been generated amongst European and International markets by this technology and CLAWAR has already highlighted many existing and potential applications. Industrial users see the need for these machines and recognize the associated benefits of several aspects of the technology and have identified among others the following areas to be concentrated upon:- modularity;- improved valve control;- intelligence and self decision making capabilities;- 3D path planning;- improved and intelligent sensor, actuator and powering technologies;- reliability and robustness aspects;- effective solutions for navigation and collision avoidance;- perception techniques. During the Implementation Phase of CLAWAR all the above aspects of robot design and manufacture will be addressed. In this way the specific needs of different industries will be determined and a coherent focus for future action established. It is important that Europe is actively involved in these latest developments and that its actions are coordinated for maximising the impact of the work in order to stay in the forefront of the climbing and walking robotic field.

Funding Scheme

THN - Thematic network contracts

Coordinator

University of Portsmouth
Address
Hampshire Terrace
PO1 2EG Portsmouth
United Kingdom

Participants (26)

CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Spain
Address
Km 22,8,Carretera De Campo Real Km 0,200
28500 Arganda Del Rey
CYBERNETIX S.A. - INGENIERIE DES SYSTEMES AUTOMATIQUES ET ROBOTIQUES
France
Address
Rue Albert Einstein 306, Technopole De Chateau-gom
13382 Marseille
Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique
France
Address
Route Du Panorama
92265 Fontenay Aux Roses
ECOLE ROYALE MILITAIRE
Belgium
Address
Avenue De La Renaissance 30
1000 Bruxelles
Enwesa Operaciones SA
Spain
Address
3,Nuñez Morgado
28036 Madrid
FORWARD INDUSTRIES LTD
United Kingdom
Address
South Marston Park, Hunts Rise
SN3 4TQ Swindon
Gravatom Engineering Systems Ltd.
United Kingdom
Address
Claylands Road
SO32 1BH Bishops Waltham
Helsinki University of Technology
Finland
Address
5,Otakaari
02150 Espoo
INSTITUTO DE SOLDADURA E QUALIDADE
Portugal
Address
Av. Prof. Dr. Cavaco Silva 33
2780-920 Oeiras
Inox Pneumatic AS
Denmark
Address
17,Spragelsevej
4160 Herlufmagle
KENTREE LTD.
Ireland
Address
Kilbrittain
30 Cork
NATIONAL LABORATORY FOR ENGINEERING AND INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY
Portugal
Address
Estrada Do Paco Do Lumiar 22
1649-038 Lisboa
ODENSE STEELSHIPYARD LTD
Denmark
Address
Lindoe Allee
5100 Odense
Portsmouth Technology Consultants Ltd.
United Kingdom
Address
15,The Tanneries - Brockhampton Lane
PO9 1JB Portsmouth - Havant
QINETIQ LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
85 Buckingham Gate
London
RISOE NATIONAL LABORATORY
Denmark
Address
Frederiksborgvej 399
Roskilde
ROBOSOFT SA
France
Address
Technopole D'izarbel
Bidart
Robotsysteme Yberle GmbH.
Germany
Address
4,Grünbaumwirtstrasse
92318 Neumarkt
SPACE APPLICATIONS SERVICES SA/NV
Belgium
Address
325,Leuvensesteenweg 325
1932 Sint Stevens Woluwe
ST Microelectronics s.r.l.
Italy
Address
Stradale Primosole
95121 Catania
Transtech Parallel Systems Limited
United Kingdom
Address
Hochenden Avenue
HP13 5RE High Wycombe
UNIVERSITAET KAISERSLAUTERN
Germany
Address
Gottlieb-daimler-strasse
67653 Kaiserslautern
UNIVERSITY OF CATANIA
Italy
Address
Viale A. Doria 6 Citta Universitaria
95125 Catania
UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD
United Kingdom
Address
The Crescent 43
M54WT Salford,manchester
Universität Fridericana Karlsruhe (Technische Hochschule)
Germany
Address
10-14,Haid-und-neu-straße 10-14
76131 Karlsruhe
Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines
France
Address
10-12,Avenue De L'europe
78140 Vélizy-villacoublay