Description of the organisation
The University of Twente (UT, www.utwente.nl) is a young, entrepreneurial research university where 3,200 scientists and professionals conduct pioneering research on nanotechnology, ICT, biomedical technology and technical medicine, engineering, governance and behavioral sciences and geo-information / earth observation sciences. Founded in 1961 in Enschede, the Netherlands, the UT stands for high tech with a human touch.
In terms of scientific impact, as analyzed by the 4TU.Federation, the UT receives 40 per cent more cites than the world average in its knowledge domains (score 1.4 on indicator MNCS), while 15 per cent of the UT publications are part of the 10 per cent most publications fields worldwide within their domain. Research ultimately combines scientific excellence with a sharp eye for economic and societal impact: named on the biennial Impact Ranking for the third time as the most entrepreneurial university in the Netherlands, the UT boasts an outstanding track record in value creation, starting up and spinning off new businesses (with some 1,000 successful ventures to date). Considering the participation in EU funding initiatives, UT researchers have been involved in over 220 FP7 projects and in 147 Horizon2020 projects already. Robotics and Mechatronics (RaM, https://www.ram.ewi.utwente.nl) is the UT unit involved in this project. RaM deals with application of modern systems and control methods to practical situations. Focus is on robotics, as a specific class of mechatronic systems. The research of the group is application oriented. Main goal is to investigate the applicability of modern systems, imaging and control methods to practical situations in the area of robotics.
Antonio Franchi (PI) (male) (https://www.ram.ewi.utwente.nl/about-us/staff/antonio-franchi) is an associate professor at the University of Twente, in the Robotics and Mechatronics group and an associated external researcher of LAAS-CNRS. He is an IEEE Senior Member. He has been a tenured CNRS researcher at LAAS-CNRS, in the Robotics and Interactions group, and a Senior Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany, and the scientific leader of the group “Autonomous Robotics and Human Machine Systems”.
His main research interests lie in the robotics area, with a special regard to control and estimation problems and applications ranging across motion and physical interaction control, decentralized control/estimation/coordination, haptics, and hardware/software architectures. His main areas of expertise are aerial robotics and multiple-robot systems.
He published more than peer reviewed 130 papers in international journals, books, and conferences and gave more than 65 invited talks in international venues since 2010. In 2010 he was awarded with the “IEEE RAS ICYA Best Paper Award” for one of his works on Multi-robot Exploration. In 2018 he was a recipient of the 2018 IEEE RAS Most Active Technical Committee Award.
Since 2016 he is Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics. He has been editor or associate editor of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (2013 to 2016), IEEE ICRA (2014 to 2020), IEEE/RSJ IROS (2014 to 2017) and the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine (2015).
He is the project coordinator of JCJC ANR MuRoPhen, co-coordinator of the FlyCrane project, and a contributor to PRO-ACT H2020, all focused on multi-robot coordination/manipulation.
He has been the local PI in the EU H2020 AEROARMS project, the creator of the ANR PRC ‘The Flying Co-worker’ project, and he contributed to the EU FP7 ARCAS project, all focused on aerial robotic manipulation. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Multiple Robot Systems, http://multirobotsystems.org/(>430 members at date).
He co-founded and was the program co-chair of the IEEE-sponsored International Symposium on Multi-robot and Multi-agent Systems (MRS 2017 & 2019). He co-organized the IEEE-RAS–sponsored 2016 Summer School on Multiple Robot Systems at NUS, Singapore, and more than 15 workshops on Multi- robot Systems, Aerial Robots and Teleoperation at IEEE ICRA, IEEE/RSJ IROS, and RSS, among others.
Stefano STRAMIGIOLI (male) is a full professor at the University of Twente, and chairman of the Robotics and Mechatronics group. He is serving as the Vice President for Research of euRobotics (for the second term). He is an IEEE Fellow and member of the Royal Holland Society of Science and Humanities (KHMW). In 2018 he was awarded the ERC Advance Grant on the project PortWings. He is a distinguished expert of energy-based control of robots, aerial physical interaction and manipulation, teleoperation, and medical robotics.
Edwin DERTIEN (male) is an assistant professor at the University of Twente. He has a demonstrated experience in robot design and human-robot interaction, with projects dealing with the design and construction of autonomous robots for in-pipe inspection and sewer assessment, and with smart textiles and care robotics. He has been able to successfully combine his expertise in mechanical robotic design with art and entertainment robotics: including robot-arms for sci-fi movies, autonomous GPS track drawing robots, big moving sculptures, installations for expositions, android robots and animatronics.
Davide BICEGO (male) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente expert in aerial physical interaction and aerial vehicle dynamics with limited actuation. As a participant to the AEROARMS project he has designed several new aerial prototypes with particular properties of dexterity and resilience that are able to preserve the system stability also during the contact phase with the environment while guaranteeing the fulfillment of the manipulation task to be applied in industrial inspection and maintenance.
Role in the Project
UT will be the leader of WP7 providing strong expertise in aerial robotics and particularly in aerial robotics physical interaction. CNRS will also participate in other work packages exploiting its strong expertise on the design of fully-actuated, morphing, and omnidirectional aerial platforms.
5 Relevant Projects
The UT PI and the University of Twente participated successfully in several research and innovation projects related to aerial robotics:
- THE FLYING CO-WORKER. ANR PRC ANR-18-CE33-0001 2019-2022.
- PORTWINGS. Decoding the Nature of Flapping Flight by port-Hamiltonian System Theory. ERC Advanced Grant (AdG), PE7, ERC-2017-ADG
- AEROARMS. AErial RObotic system integrating multiple ARMS and advanced manipulation capabilities for inspection and maintenance. Project 644271, H2020-ICT-23-2014-1
- AEROWORKS. Project collaborative Aerial Robotic Workers H2020-EU.126.96.36.199. 644128
- ARCAS: Aerial Robotics Cooperative Assembly System. FP7 ICT. 287617
- SHERPA. Smart collaboration between Humans and ground-aErial Robots for imProving rescuing activities in Alpine environments. Project EU FP7-ICT 600958.
- AIROBOTS. Innovative aerial service robots for remote inspections by contact. EU FP7-ICT 248669
5 Selected Related Publications
- Franchi A, Carli R, Bicego D, Ryll M. Full-Pose Tracking Control for Aerial Robotic Systems with Laterally-Bounded Input Force. IEEE Trans. on Robotics. 2018;34(2):534-541.
- Tognon M, Franchi A. Dynamics, Control, and Estimation for Aerial Robots Tethered by Cables or Bars. IEEE Transaction on Robotics. 2017.
- Tognon M, Franchi A. Omnidirectional Aerial Vehicles with Unidirectional Thrusters: Theory, Optimal Design, and Control. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. 2018;3(3):2277-2282
- Ryll M, Bicego D, Franchi A. Modeling and Control of FAST-Hex: a Fully-Actuated by Synchronized-Tilting Hexarotor. In 2016 IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and System. Daejeon, South Korea; 2016. pp. 1689-1694.
- Franchi, A., C. Secchi, M. Ryll, H. H. Bülthoff, and P. Robuffo Giordano, «Shared Control: Balancing Autonomy and Human Assistance with a Group of Quadrotor UAVs.», IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Special Issue on Aerial Robotics and the Quadrotor Platform, vol. 19, issue 3, pp. 57-68, 09/2012.
Relevant equipment and infrastructure available for the project
In the recent years, the UT PI has produced several robotic prototypes first of their kind in aerial robotics, which have been brought with him at UT and will be available to be used in the AERIAL-CORE project, in addition to the several aerial robotic prototypes developed also UT for the AEROWORKS and SPECTOR projects. Some of such prototypes are mentioned the following:
- The Flying coworker, a non-collinear hexarotor platform endowed with a 3DoF ultra-lightweight arm.
- The Tilt-Hex a non-collinear Hexarotor platform able to hover in place with tilted orientation and to resist/exert full-6D wrench on the external environment
- The FAST-Hex an improved version of the Tilt-Hex that is more efficient energetically
The Port-TiltHex, which combines the tilt-hex design with an energy-based interaction controller.
UT will also make available to the project:
- An advanced mechatronics laboratory of 400 square meters with different facilities for rapid prototyping and testing like 8 3D printers, laser cutters, PCB production facilities
- Two aerial robotics testbeds:
- An indoor arena (4x6x6 meters) equipped with motion capture
- The SPACE 53 (www.space53.eu) outdoor testbed located in the Enschede Airport Twente which allows safe and authorized outdoor flight tests.