Autonomous mobile manipulation

In the future, autonomous mobile systems will increasingly enter areas where manipulation tasks can be solved without human involvement. Examples are the assembly, maintenance, repair and disassembly of technical systems. They will be used where hazardous environments pose a high risk to humans, e.g. in underwater areas or contaminated infrastructures.

There are several scientific challenges to be solved:

  • the autonomous driving in unstructured environments,
  • the detection of the object to be manipulated,
  • the optimization of the trajectories of the manipulation system,
  • the compensation of environmental influences and
  • the verification of the manipulation result.

For the solution of these challenges, autonomous systems and AI methods are developed in this business unit.

In the Smart Ocean Technology research group in Rostock, Fraunhofer IOSB is developing and testing a novel manipulator that is installed on a remote-controlled underwater vehicle and can perform various tasks in the field of underwater maintenance. These tasks are:

  • Selectively driving to damaged areas on underwater infrastructure,
  • Applying coating systems under water,
  • Docking with a special fixture of a sensor sleeve ,
  • Reading sensor data from the sensor sleeves for long-term monitoring of offshore structures,
  • Visual monitoring of the entire work process and support of the ROV pilot by partially automated control maneuvers,
  • 3D reconstruction of the underwater infrastructure

Fields of application

Within the framework of the Competence Center ROBDEKON, heavy construction machines are equipped with Fraunhofer IOSB's Algorithm Toolbox for Autonomous Mobile Robotic Systems, which enables them to independently take over work in landfill and contaminated site remediation (e.g. autonomous removal of contaminated soil layers and the recovery of barrels with hazardous materials).

For the digitalization of inspection as well as automation of preparations and evaluation of autonomous missions of ROV, first practical tests of an intelligent, multivariate inspection system are being developed in the “MISO-Inspector” (text in German language only), which can be used on foundation structures of offshore constructions or on other structures such as FPSOs in the oil and gas sector.