Advanced robotics, such as dexterous teleoperated and autonomous mobile robotic systems, will revolutionize the way work is accomplished in complex, unstructured settings such as outdoor and subsea applications. These next-generation robotic systems will enable a larger, more diverse pool of workers to enhance output and efficiencies, but work safely in what are often dangerous environments. Kiva Allgood, President and CEO of Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation, will discuss her vision of the future of these types of robotic systems, including how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and supervised autonomy will play a significant role. She will also share real world examples and use cases of how advanced robotics systems can improve work across many different industries, such as construction, aviation, solar, maritime/subsea, power utilities, and nondestructive testing.
Robots and autonomous machinery are becoming a prominent feature in the Industrialization of Construction, both in the factory and in the field. While they may offer tremendous gains in design freedom and construction efficiency, they also require new ways of working for architects, builders, and software companies. For almost a decade, the CAD-software provider Autodesk has been exploring the future of designing and construction in a world enabled by robots. In this panel, researchers from Autodesk will discuss challenges and opportunities of factory-based automation, field robotics, and autonomous machinery for the Industrialization of Construction.
In contrast to traditional industrial and consumer robots, field robotics systems must operate in outdoor, unstructured and dynamic environments, such as construction worksites, mines, and farm fields, as well as busy urban centers. Field robotics systems are typically larger and more ruggedized than systems designed for indoor use, and must be able to withstand challenging working conditions. To do so, field systems must incorporate and utilize motion control and actuation technologies that are up to the task.
In this panel session, the unique motion control requirements for field systems will be reviewed, along with the characteristics and capabilities of the latest motion control products and technologies for field robotics systems. Case studies and product examples will be used to highlight salient points. Topics include:
• Field Robotics Motion Control Requirements
• Ruggedized Motion Control Products and Technologies
• Robotic Motion Control Trends for Field Systems
• Applications and Vertical Markets
In this session, Ali Asmari, Director of Infrastructure Automation & AI at ULC Technologies, will describe the engineering challenges, options and achievements associated with developing the Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System (RRES), an all-electric robotic platform that combines below-ground locating sensors and AI to transform the way utility companies, energy networks, and the construction industry excavate and conduct roadworks. He will also discuss how the RRES was designed and engineered to overcome a wide range of difficulties faced when conducting traditional utility excavations, including third-party damage, disruption to traffic, and carbon emissions. Asmari will also review current capabilities of RRES include below-ground sensing, cutting the road surface, soft-touch excavation, backfill, and reinstatement. He will also review various RRES spin-off technologies including AUSMOS – a transportable GPR platform to map below-ground assets autonomously, and VEST – a vacuum excavation toolhead that uses supersonic air nozzles to agitate and break up the soil.
For decades, medium and large size off-road equipment engineering and manufacturing companies, and more recently venture investors, have applied large amounts of resources to develop functional off-road highly automated and autonomous machines in field like agriculture, construction, mining, turf. Yet there are few examples of large-scale commercial success of autonomous vehicles (mining being a notable exception).
Product liability is a key obstacle to this commercial success, due mostly to the absence of a local operator, who traditionally held much of the responsibility. Formalizing liability exposure among the various actors (equipment owner, manufacturer, distribution, insurance, etc.) in the absence of a local operator can be managed through the necessary level of safety. Also, straight adoption of on-road approaches may drive unneeded complexity and cost, as on-road methods and standards are geared towards a fundamentally different risk profile. In addition, off-road solutions on lower sales volumes become impractical. But volume issues can be partially offset by leveraging automotive hardware and software solutions that are carefully tailored.
This presentation examines several dimensions of attaining product safety goals in a way to manage liability and reduce business risk. These dimensions include the tailoring of functional safety standards to objectively characterized risks present in off-road applications, integrating vehicle security as a necessary element of product safety, adoption of Safety Of The Intended Function (SOTIF) standards, and other elements of a verifiable and documented safety case.
The agriculture sector is increasing looking to new technologies and business models, including robotics systems, to meet the world’s increasing demand for food and animal feed. Thankfully, advances in hardware and software technologies, ongoing research, and the availability of investment, have made it possible to develop and deploy practical, robust, commercial class robotics products, technologies and services in support of agriculture. But there is much more to do… many opportunities exist for agricultural robotics OEMS and providers of enabling technologies for agricultural robotics systems.
In this session, attendees will be provided with an overview of the agricultural robotics sector including a review of existing ag robotics systems, as well as highlighting current opportunities and gating factors. In addition, the latest platforms and technologies used to create agricultural robotics systems will be reviewed.
While there are numerous opportunities for task automation in unstructured environments, physically traversing these settings can be challenging. Sometimes locomotion difficulties can be solved simply, but in other cases, challenges may require an entire design process dedicated to solving the problem of locomotion.
Questions to ask during the design process include: What is the terrain or surface to be traversed? Are there hazards such as water, mud, or even electromagnetic or radioactive fields? How many degrees of freedom are necessary for navigation and task completion? What load must the locomotion system carry? What level of positional accuracy is needed? With these considerations, and many more in mind, it is important to understand various locomotion methods used for automating tasks in unstructured environments as opposed to simply sticking with a potentially limiting method because it is the known and comfortable option.
Over the years, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has utilized numerous locomotion methods in a variety of unstructured environments. In this presentation, SwRI’s Branson Brockschmidt will present case studies for several means of locomotion to describe what the design process is like and how a given method can be decided upon. The case studies presented include omni-directional wheels to drive on aircraft depot tarmacs, treads for navigating uneven metal floors in a nuclear waste storage tank, an eight-armed inspection system to climb power line insulators, a tracked gantry for traversing ship ballast tanks, a foam vacuum roller to climb a concrete dam, and drones for remote inspection.