Talk 1: Off-road Robotics – Perception, Modeling and Control

Prof. Dr. Karsten Berns (TU Kaiserslautern)

Abstract: There is a wide field of applications for off-road robots like agriculture, forestry, civil engineering, demining or vehicles for disaster areas. The presentation will focus on navigation strategies, which are implemented based on behaviour-based control concepts and which are tested on the off-road robot RAVON, and on an excavator. For these vehicles a short introduction to the perception system for rough terrain will be given, including sensor system and modelling of the environment. At the end of the talk several off-road robot applications are introduced, which are carried out at RRlab during the last years. These include our excavator project, perception and control for harvesters and tractors in field applications.

CV: Prof. Dr. Karsten Berns has studied computer science at the University of Kaiserslautern from 1982 to 1988. In 1994 he received his PhD. from the University of Karlsruhe. The topic of his Thesis was “Neural Networks for the Control of a six-legged Walking Machine”. From 1989 till April 2003 he was employed at the Research Center of Information Technologies (FZI) at the University of Karlsruhe where he led the group “Interactive Diagnosis- and Service Systems” (IDS). During this time his research work was focused on the development of technical diagnosis systems as well as the realization of adaptive control concepts for service robots. Since April 2003 he is a full professor for robotic systems at Kaiserslautern University of Technology. His main research activities are the realization of complex autonomous robotic systems, like wheel-driven indoor- and outdoor vehicles and climbing robots. In the field of humanoid robots, he is concentrating on the development of a robotic head in order to study human-machine interaction. Main idea for the control of such complex systems is the transfer of principles from nature into technical systems. This transfer is applied for mechanical design aspects, sensor systems, control architecture and adaptive control methods. To support the development process of complex robotic systems he and his research group are currently developing tools for the implementation of control architectures and the verification of control strategies. In addition, innovative computer architectures and electronic concepts are studied to enable the development of new service robots. He also acts as reviewer for several funding organisations including DFG and the EU on a regular basis and is member of several organising committees and editorial board: Prof. Berns is member of several associations like the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI) and the German Robotic Association. He is the director of the Center of commercial vehicles at the University of Kaiserslautern and member of the Scientific Directorate of Schloss Dagstuhl Leibniz Center for Informatics.