The RoboCup is a competition that covers various disciplines. The challenges for the robots range from football to indoor logistics tasks in an industrial environment. These tasks are each grouped in a league.

In October 2014, the mobile robotics laboratory set up a team for the RoboCup@Work league. The team’s research and development focuses on the development of an autonomous system that fulfils gripping and transport tasks in an industrial environment. For these tasks, the system has to locate itself independently, determine its trajectory, and pick up and transport the required parts. The robot used is a KUKA youBot. The student team is made up of bachelor’s and master’s students from various subject areas who are working on project papers or final theses.

Previous RoboCup@work competitions

World Champions AutonOHM @Work team 2018

The AutonOHM student team from Nuremberg Tech were crowned world champions at the RoboCup in Montreal for the second time with their KUKA youBot robot. In the ‘RoboCup@Work’ competition category, the students left their international competitors in the dust.

The ‘RoboCup@Work’ competition category focuses on using robots in industry. These robots are already performing complex tasks today, for example in manufacturing, automation or logistics. At the RoboCup, the robots are therefore tested in the disciplines of navigation, object recognition, handling, and planning. The KUKA youBot robot therefore had to move to predefined positions autonomously, pick up and set down small objects such as screws or nuts, and transport the objects between different work surfaces.

German Champions AutonOHM @Work team 2018

At the RoboCup German Open 2018 in Magdeburg, the AutonOHM@work team was successful and once again won the coveted title ofGerman champions.

The reigning world champions and former German @Work league champion defended their title at the German Open, winning by a clear margin. To rectify the mistakes of the previous year, the robot was almost completely modified. Yet, the use of a new gripper and the accompanying teething problems at the beginning did not affect the defending champions in the final.

The team’s aim is to learn from its past mistakes and improve functionality to give them a chance of defending their world champion title.

Winning team AutonOHM 2017

The RoboCup German Open 2017 in Magdeburg was a roaring success for Nuremberg Tech’s students.

In the RoboCup@Work league, the six-man team, headed up by team leader Jon Martin Garechana, defeated the reigning world champions and runners-up with their robot and won the coveted title of German champions.

The @Work course simulates an environment that can be found in almost every industrial plant. There are parts inventory, drills, and conveyor belts that have to be supplied with parts in different ways. The robot used for this purpose must use its mounted robot arm to accurately pick up the parts and place them back down in the correct place. The completely autonomous robot plans its path through the course with the aid of just a few sensors. Next, the right parts are collected from the robot’s destination to be transported to a new destination.

In winning the title of German champions, the AutonOHM team from Nuremberg Tech built on the previous year's success in the European Robotics League, a Europe-wide robot competition funded by the European Union. At the European Robotics Forum in Edinburgh, the team received an award in the “Fill a Box with Parts for Manual Assembly” category.

AutonOHM team 2017

  • Project management: Prof. Christine Niebler, Prof. Stefan May
  • Team coordination: Jon Martin
  • RoboCup German Open competition team: Daniel Ammon, Helmut Engelhardt, Tobias Fink, Jon Martin, Marco Masannek, Tobias Scholz
  • RoboCup World Cup competition team: Helmut Engelhardt, Tobias Fink, Jon Martin, Marco Masannek, Tobias Scholz
  • Locating, mapping & navigation: Daniel Ammon, Tobias Fink
  • Vision: Helmut Engelhardt, Daniel Ammon
  • Gripping moving objects: Tobias Scholz
  • Arm kinematics: Marco Masannek
  • Gripper: Bernd Ell, Tobias Fink
  • State machine: Jon Martin
World champion team AutonOHM 2017

The AutonOHM team from Nuremberg Tech has now also won the RoboCup@Work World Cup title in Japan. The team, headed up by team leader Jon Martin Garechana, and their robot prevailed against numerous teams from across the world, including Russia, Singapore, and Iran.

The Robot League focuses on the topic of Smart Factory/Industry 4.0, where the goal is for the robots used to support human workers in factories. The individual tasks in the competition were set in line with this concept. The robot therefore had to move to specified positions, pick up and set down small objects such as screws or nuts, and successfully transport the objects between different work surfaces. To achieve this, the participants had to design their robots in such a way that they could locate and navigate fully autonomously, recognize the objects and determine their positions, and then pick them up accurately and place them down in exactly the right position. The evaluation criteria included the number of objects picked up, errors (such as collisions between the robot and its environment or dropped objects), and the time required.
The AutonOHM team scored points with their prototype gripper attached at the end of the robot arm and object recognition using 2D and 3D image processing and thus secured the well-deserved World Championship title.

AutonOHM team 2017

  • Project management: Prof. Christine Niebler, Prof. Stefan May
  • Team coordination: Jon Martin
  • RoboCup German Open competition team: Daniel Ammon, Helmut Engelhardt, Tobias Fink, Jon Martin, Marco Masannek, Tobias Scholz
  • RoboCup World Cup competition team: Helmut Engelhardt, Tobias Fink, Jon Martin, Marco Masannek, Tobias Scholz
  • Locating, mapping & navigation: Daniel Ammon, Tobias Fink
  • Vision: Helmut Engelhardt, Daniel Ammon
  • Gripping moving objects: Tobias Scholz
  • Arm kinematics: Marco Masannek
  • Gripper: Bernd Ell, Tobias Fink
  • State machine: Jon Martin
The team with youBot during preparations.

In March 2015, the AutonOHM team took part in the RoboCup German Open competition in Magdeburg for the first time, finishing in fifth place in the “Rescue Robot League”.

The @Work course simulates an environment that can be found in almost every industrial plant. There are parts stores, drills, and conveyor belts that have to be supplied with parts in different ways. The robot used for this purpose must use its mounted robot arm to accurately pick up the parts and place them back down in the correct place. The completely autonomous robot plans its path through the course with the aid of just a few sensors. Next, the right parts are collected from the robot’s destination to be transported to a new destination.

To be able to perform the required tasks, the mobile robot was equipped with a laser scanner at the front and a 2D camera on the robot arm. The computing power of the integrated computer had to be improved though the inclusion of a second computer, which was mounted on the back.

Murphy’s law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And even the Nuremberg Tech team could not escape this law, with the very important laser scanner giving up before the competition had even begun. A helpful team came to the @Work team aid, loaning them a replacement scanner so that they could continue to participate.

After long nights and with square eyes, the whole team was happy to finish in fifth place and to have gained a wealth of new experiences and impressions. These will be of great benefit when the team takes part in the 2016 World Cup in Leipzig.

RoboCup@work

The AutonOHM @Work team at the Nuremberg Institute of Technology was founded in September 2014. In 2017, the team won both the German (Magdeburg) and the World (Nagoya) Championship titles. With the knowledge and experience gained in the former tournaments, the team was also able to defend both of these titles in 2018.

As most of the team members of the successful former team are no longer taking part in RoboCups, the main goal this year is to transfer knowledge to the new team members, while also trying to defend the German (Magdeburg) and the World (Montreal) Championship titles. The new team consists of bachelor’s and master’s students, supervised by a former team member and master’s student (Applied Research). In addition, former team members will be involved in training the new team members in 2019.