Robotics team Tech United takes out the trash during housekeeping contest @Home

May 5, 2019

This year Tech United came out for the first time with their Toyota HSR called "HERO" and became sixth despite their superior digital mapping model.

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The 'HERO' service robot from Eindhoven University of Technology became sixth during the unofficial European Championships for service robots in Germany. During the 'German Open', the team from TU Eindhoven had to carry out various tasks, such as serving drinks, showing a guest around, and taking out the garbage. In July the team will try to grab the world title at the RoboCup World Cup in Sydney.

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After last week's European Championships for soccer robots, this weekend the unofficial European Championships for care robots took place in Germany, the annual game in which robots have to do household chores autonomously. The aim of the competition is to stimulate robotics with applications in healthcare. Due to the ageing population in the Netherlands and the rest of the world, it is expected that robots will be of invaluable support.

This year, Tech United came out with the Toyota Home Service Robot, called 'HERO'. This is the first time they have used this service robot competitively. In the Domestic Standard Platform League all teams use the Toyota HSR, but not every team uses the same software. The Eindhoven robot excels in its 'world model', the digital representation of the world. The robot makes a 3D map of the walls, places all kinds of digital objects such as cabinets and couches in it, and there is a special code that explains that it is more convenient to stand in front of a cabinet instead of next to it.

 

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Assignments via Telegram

During the ‘German Open’ this weekend, the robots received assignments from the popular messaging service Telegram, such as "Find Josja in the living room" and "Take out the garbage". Such tasks may seem simple, but there are still many challenges for robots. Not only does the robot have to make a digital map of the space, he has to understand the task well, be able to recognise objects such as couches and soda cans, and finally, it has to devise optimized strategies for the various tasks.

New tournament rules

The tournament went quite different than the previous tournaments, because of new rules in the RoboCup. In previous years, teams had to participate in all parts of the tournament, while teams were allowed to make their own selection of areas now. Also, the way of allocating points was altered. Whether Tech United is ready for the Sydney World Championships this summer remains to be seen. "We have developed and tested a lot this weekend. We have been able to make progress towards Sydney and how we can get a better score with the new rulebook. We've also been very busy with the detection of people."

 

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RoboCup world championship

The first week of July the RoboCup World Cup will be held in Sydney. The matches will be streamed live again via robocup.live, where team member Guy Vermeulen will traditionally provide comment again. In collaboration with RTL Bright a video report will be produced that will appear on the RTL Z technology website.

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Aldo Brinkman
(Science Information Officer)