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Framework for mobile manipulation in unknown environments

The Chair of High-Performance Humanoid Technologies (H2T) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has developed a processing pipeline in ROBDEKON that opens up a wide range of mobile manipulation options for robots - even in unknown environments and independent of the specific robot type. The pipeline, described in detail in the paper MAkEable: Memory-centered and Affordance-based Task Execution Framework for Transferable Mobile Manipulation Skills, represents a significant advance in the field of robotic manipulation and offers a versatile and adaptable solution that can cope with the complexities of real-world environments.

Key features and results

The manipulation pipeline offers several key features that underscore its importance in the field of robotics:

  • Versatile capabilities: The manipulation pipeline's ability to manipulate known and unknown objects is critical for autonomous decontamination in hazardous environments. By enabling robots to handle and remove potentially harmful substances, the manipulation pipeline enables effective and safe cleaning of contaminated areas while human operators can remain outside the hazardous zone.

  • Flexibility and adaptability: Thanks to its versatility, the manipulation pipeline can be adapted to different environments and requirements. This is particularly important in dynamic or unpredictable situations. It also makes it easier to adapt to new sites or changing conditions on site in the case of power plant decontamination.

  • Efficient cooperation between robots: The manipulation pipeline facilitates cooperation between robots by providing a standardized framework for manipulation. This enables different robots to work together seamlessly and support each other to perform complex tasks such as decontamination of large areas or complex plant components more efficiently. In addition, this also facilitates human-robot cooperation, e.g. in the form of teleoperation, if partial aspects cannot (yet) be solved completely autonomously.

Applications and demonstrations in the real world

The ROBDEKON manipulation pipeline is not just a theoretical concept - it is a practical solution with tangible applications in the real world. Through a series of experiments on different robots, including grasping known and unknown objects, placing objects and semi-autonomous two-handed grasping, the framework has been successfully validated in different environments. These experiments, conducted on two different humanoid robots, demonstrate the versatility and effectiveness of the manipulation pipeline in real-world scenarios.

Mobile manipulation with the humanoid robot ARMAR-6. © KIT

Conclusion: Paving the way for safer and more efficient decontamination

Overall, the manipulation pipeline contributes significantly to achieving the core objectives of ROBDEKON: the development of autonomous robotic systems capable of performing hazardous tasks such as decontamination in hazardous environments and maximizing safety and efficiency in such situations. With its advanced capabilities and broad applicability, the manipulation pipeline is an indispensable tool that drives ROBDEKON forward and helps push the boundaries of robotic technology.