ROBDEKON stands for »Robotic systems for decontamination in hazardous environments« and is a competence center dedicated to the research of autonomous and semi-autonomous robot systems. In the future, these systems should carry out decontamination work autonomously so that people can stay away from the danger zone.
Since mid-June 2018, ROBDEKON has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with twelve million euros as part of the »Research for Civil Security« programme. The programme will initially run for four years, but the aim is to ensure that the competence center continues to exist in the long term.
ROBDEKON is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB. In addition to the Fraunhofer IOSB, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology are also involved as research institutions. Industrial partners in the consortium are Götting KG, Kraftanlagen Heidelberg GmbH, ICP Ingenieurgesellschaft Prof. Czurda und Partner mbH and KHG Kerntechnische Hilfsdienst GmbH.
The aim is to establish ROBDEKON as the national contact point for questions relating to robotic systems for decontamination in hazardous environments. The competence center aims to establish a network of experts and users and to create an innovative environment for partners from academia and industry for new technologies for decontamination using robots. The partners have proven expertise in autonomous robotic systems and relevant decontamination applications.
The main objective of ROBDEKON is the research and development of novel robotic systems for decontamination tasks. Research topics include mobile robots for rough terrain, autonomous construction machines, robot manipulators as well as decontamination concepts, planning algorithms, multi-sensorial 3D environment mapping and tele-operation using virtual reality. Artificial intelligence methods enable the robots to perform assigned tasks autonomously or semi-autonomously.
In the development phase of the competence center, work is initially concentrating on three relevant application areas: the remediation of landfills and contaminated sites, the dismantling of nuclear facilities and the decontamination of plant components. By involving users at an early stage, it is ensured that practicable systems are timely developed that reduce the level of risk and protect people from hazards.
Four technology demonstrators are being developed in ROBDEKON in order to put the cross-sectional technologies developed into practice and to evaluate the research results:
In the seven laboratories of ROBDEKON's partners, a unique innovation environment is created for the research, development and testing of new technologies for decontamination using robotic systems.
In addition to test sites for testing mobile robotic systems, automated construction machinery and heavy equipment, the partners have laboratories for the development of climbing and milling robots and manipulators and for the realization of telepresence techniques. In the context of ROBDEKON, the existing laboratories will be linked and further expanded.
In addition to the development of new decontamination technologies, the ROBDEKON consortium is committed to a high level of involvement in the field of professional training and university teaching. In addition to this, the competence center organizes an annual participatory event in which external interested parties (e.g. research groups, users, experts) can get involved and get to know the work, results and offers of the competence center.