PR2 Beta Sites: Spotlight on Bosch

TeleopDeveloping the Personal Robotics Market: Enabling New Applications Through Novel Sensors and Shared Autonomy

Limited access to quality robotics research platforms is one significant obstacle to the development of new robotics applications.  Bosch’s PR2 Remote Lab will extend access to the PR2 platform to additional research labs which did not receive their own PR2.  Of course, Bosch also has its own plans for its PR2 beyond sharing it with the rest of the world.  The robotics team at the Bosch Research and Technology Center North America (RTC) will focus on developing solutions for the personal robotics market by making robots safer, affordable and capable.  The Bosch robotics team in Palo Alto closely collaborates with experts from Bosch Corporate Research based in Stuttgart, Germany, who bring in additional expertise in sensing, signal processing and manufacturing.

Bosch plans to integrate its latest sensor technology in the PR2 to explore new applications and lower costs.  These sensors include accelerometers, gyros, force sensors, air pressure sensors and a new near range sensing system.  These sensors will also be shared with other PR2 Beta Sites.

In the long run, Bosch is focused on developing the robotics market.  That means building affordable robots that work reliably in complex environments – not an easy task.  One approach to this problem that Bosch will explore is shared autonomy: including a human in the loop to help out on those tasks still too difficult for a robot to quickly or reliably complete on its own.  The goal is to combine the strengths of autonomous systems and human operators to improve performance and reduce the cost of commercial systems.

Bosch has been a contributor to ROS since March 2009.  They will extend their 3D reconstruction work, previously mentioned here, to ROS and the PR2.  This will allow the PR2 to build accurate, textured 3D models of its environment.

See the Bosch press release here.

Team photoThe Team

The Bosch team combines the expertise of researchers with a background in computer science, mechanical, electrical and aerospace engineering with the corporate expertise in sensing, perception, signal proccessing and manufacturing.  Several team members are also active in the Stanford Racing Team working on autonomous vehicles.

  • Jan Becker: Principal Investigator
  • Christian Bersch: Planning, Perception
  • Charles DuHadway: Shared Autonomy, Remote Lab
  • Benjamin Pitzer: 3D Reconstruction, Remote Lab
  • Soeren Kammel: 3D Perception, Image Processing
  • Lukas Marti: Sensors, Signal Processing

The team also includes some great interns: Hao Dang (Columbia), Adam Stambler (Rutgers), Michael Styer (Stanford), Joerg Wagner and Sebastian Haug (both Stuttgart). Researchers at other Bosch locations will also contribute to the project.

Presentation

Below is a video of Jan Becker presenting Bosch's proposal to the rest of the PR2 Beta Program participants. You can download the slides as PDF.

Article written with assistance from Charles DuHadway.