The research project SURUx2 aims to develop a mobile robot capable of assisting specialists dealing with Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) substances or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in hazardous and challenging situations. Currently, the steering of the robot to the hazardous object is conducted manually by operators using camera images. This makes accurate positioning difficult and time-consuming and is a mentally very challenging task. Therefore a navigation module for a semi-autonomous robot approach will be developed and tested within this research project.
Moreover, the robot is equipped with a robotic arm. This allows for a precise scanning of the object of interest using specific sensors for NBC detection.To achieve accurate, collision-free navigation and mapping of the environment in indoor and outdoor scenarios the robot platform is equipped with several navigation sensors. This includes an IMU, GNSS antennas, LiDAR as well as wheel encoders. All navigation data will be fused in a factor graph based localization and mapping algorithm.The primary aim of the project SURUx2 is to provide the Austrian armed forces with a valuable tool to assess the danger coming from the object of interest. The semi-autonomous approach of the robot to the target, the precise map of the environment and the data resulting from the object scanning process also help to increase the safety of the operation.
This project is funded by the Austrian Promotion Agency (FFG) within the programme line "FORTE".