Autonomous excavator can recover hazardous materials

Short description of the project

An excavator works without an operator? Yes, there is one. It was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Engineering and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe. The autonomous excavator "IOSB.BoB" ("excavator without an operator") can, for example, recover hazardous materials or remove contaminated soil layers and represents a flexible demonstration and development system for testing scalable autonomous functions.


Project goals

People no longer have to put themselves in danger

Robots will act more independently and networked in the future. They work hand in hand with humans or they explore dangerous environments independently. They will develop into autonomous systems. They can solve complex tasks, make their own decisions and learn to react to unforeseen events. After natural disasters - e.g. an earthquake - or after industrial accidents - e.g. a fire in a chemical plant - the emergency services depend on an up-to-date and precise overview of the situation.


Project result

The Fraunhofer IOSB has therefore developed a system consisting of autonomous vehicles and sensor probes. It enables inaccessible areas to be explored without putting people in danger. Thanks to a toolbox of algorithms for localization, mapping, obstacle detection and motion planning, robots can move autonomously in unknown, unstructured terrain.

Decontamination through automation of working machines

Reliable position images through networking of the sensors In addition, they can also deploy sensor probes there, which can, for example, collect further information about hazardous substances in the environment. By networking different sensors, a reliable situation picture of the investigated area is created, which is visualized on a digital situation table for the emergency services. The intuitive operation of the situation table through gestures makes it possible to quickly gain an overview of the relevant information and to coordinate the next steps in the deployment of the autonomous robot systems.

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For the execution of work in polluted areas or areas endangering humans, the Fraunhofer IOSB is also engaged in the automation of heavy machinery, which can, for example, remove contaminated soil layers or recover and transport hazardous materials. This makes it possible to remove the contamination without people having to enter the hazardous area.


Further Information

Project duration:

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Department MRD of Fraunhofer IOSB

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