Young Researchers Develop Intelligent Robots and Sensor Networks

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In the future, when certain tasks become too dangerous for humans, robots will need to take over the work. In order for them to function properly, however, ultra-modern technologies are needed. To this end, young researchers from Freiberg are combining mobile robots with the ‘Internet of Things’.

The robots are tested in the research and training mine at TU Bergakademie Freiberg. ARIDuA (Autonomous Robots and Internet of Things in Underground Facilities) is the name of the new ESF Junior Research Group at TU Bergakademie Freiberg. Since July, the young scientists have been investigating how robots can benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT). Using sensors of different kinds and WLAN stations, modern machines will soon be able to navigate independently and transmit images or video sequences wirelessly from environments that are inaccessible to humans.

Scientists from the Bergakademie are testing one of the applications of the new technology in the university's own research mine – the "Reiche Zeche". For this purpose, the young researchers are using the sensor network installed as part of the ‘Living Lab’.

“The network records not only the location and activity of the robots, but also enables certain environmental parameters such as temperature and air quality to be transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth or WLAN,” explains Prof. Bernhard Jung from the Institute of Computer Science. In order to further expand the network, the mobile robots are to independently install additional sensors and WLAN stations.

“Our vision is that the intelligent machines will, at some point, seek their own goal and the way to reach it – for example by recognizing ore veins underground and by extracting them independently,” says Prof. Helmut Mischo, project manager of ARIDuA and Scientific Director of the Reiche Zeche research and teaching mine. However, the use of intelligent robots is also conceivable in tunnel construction, in blasting, or during natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions.

ARIDuA is being funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) to the tune of 1.3 million euro over three years (until June 2020). Taking part in the project are the Institutes of Mining and Special Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Mine Surveying and Geodesy, Electronic and Sensor Materials as well as the Institute of Automation Engineering.

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Contact person:

Prof. Dr. -Ing. Helmut Mischo, Tel.: +49 (0)3731 39-2044