Latest entries written by Till Hofmann

Strong Finish ends with World Champion Title for Carologistics after an exhausting season

On July 7 Carologistics was able to win the Grand Final with a score of 192:109 points against GRIPS from TU Graz. The thrilling final, which concluded an exciting RoboCup 2019, ended with triumphant shouts by the Carologistics team.

The team, consisting of students and scientific staff from the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (RWTH Aachen University) and the Institute for Mobile Autonomous Systems and Cognitive Robotics (FH Aachen, University of Applied Sciences), wins their 5th World Championship of the RoboCup Logistics League. This year‘s RoboCup was held July 2-8 in Sydney, Australia.

With both competitive and research aspects, the RoboCup Logistics League aims to demonstrate the possibilites of a Smart Factory. With the concept of „Industry 4.0“ in mind, production steps have to be divided into actions executable by robots, thus making their automation possible. These actions have to be planned and coordinated fully autonomously by the robots.

Prior to RoboCup 2019, Carologistics was already able to win the German Open held in Magdeburg earlier this year. Their success put them on a steep upward trajectory towards the world championship. Coming in 3rd Place and having to deal with technical issues at last year‘s RoboCup had left some marks on the team members. These marks came to show again after a small mistake in a playoff game against BabyTigers from Japan, which rendered the robots useless for the rest of the game. The resulting tension was finally lifted after the flashing of the red lights of the MPS stations when the final game against GRIPS ended. Now it was official: the trophy is coming home!

Apart from the games, a technical challenge is part of the RoboCup Logistics League. Being the same challenge as last year, Carologistics was keen on winning the technical challenge as well. They had not been able to compete last year, but wanted to show their competence in recognizing the MPS Stations without attached AR-Tags this year. Image recognition based on neural networks proved to be the winning solution for this challenge.

After a most successful RoboCup 2019 the exhausted but happy team returns home from Sydney with both trophies in hand. After a short break the preparations for the upcoming RoboCup 2020 in Bordeaux will start.

Posted by Till Hofmann on July 8, 2019 17:00

Strong comeback of Carologistics at the German Open of the RoboCup Logistics League

The Carologistics team, which is composed of scientific staff and students from the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (RWTH Aachen University) and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen, University of Applied Sciences), was able to win German championship title in the RoboCup Logistics League for the fifth time. The German Open took place from 3 to 5 May in the Magdeburg exhibition halls.

In 2018, after a four-year winning streak, Carologistics had to hand over the world championship title to the GRIPS team from Graz University of Technology. By winning this year's German championship, they put the Austrians under pressure for the upcoming World Cup in Sydney and show that the fight for the World Championship title remains exciting.

The RoboCup Logistics League shows in a small scale what will be possible in the future in so-called "Smart Factories" in the context of Industry 4.0. Essentially, the aim is to manufacture products in a short time with the help of a robot team and machines. The production process must be broken down into its individual components and mutual dependencies. This results in tasks with temporal dependencies, which the robots have to divide among themselves.

Carologistics started this year with a newly developed gripper system. In addition, the subsystems introduced last year for image recognition and decision making were further developed and enhanced. The preparations for the RoboCup World Championships, which will take place in July in Sydney, Australia, are now beginning. For the World Championship, the team will now optimize the many subsystems in order to be able to counter the strong competition from Austria and France.

Posted by Till Hofmann on May 6, 2019 09:45

Bronze for Aachen’s Carologistics at the RoboCup Logistics League World Championship in Montreal

The team Carologistics, consisting of scientific staff and students of the Cybernetics Lab IMA & IfU, the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (both RWTH Aachen University) and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences), came in 3rd place in the RoboCup Logistics League in Montreal on 21.06.2018.

Throughout the tournament, the Carologistics repeatedly struggled with Wi-Fi problems. After the robots did not move, because no communication was possible, all WLAN components were exchanged. The new hardware led to a strong delay and the robots were only minutes later that the game had already started.

Despite the adversities, the team gave everything and was able to work its way forward in the tournament until they were stopped by the new world champion from Graz, who they had defeated in the finals of 2017. The small finals were won by Carologistics, achieving third place in a league that makes major technological leaps every year and shows more and more of what will be possible in the so-called "Smart Factories" of the future.

The RoboCup Logistics League is characterized in particular by the fact that here on a 14 x 8 meter large playing field is shown on a small scale, which in the next few years in so-called "Smart Factories" in Industrie 4.0 context from an intralogistic point of view is possible. So the robots of each team have to explore the playing field and report back which position is which machine. Thus, the robots themselves find the best connections between individual machines. When this first phase (exploration) is completed, in the subsequent production phase it is a question of manufacturing individual products of lot size 1, ie the robots are informed of time slots for orders for products, from which the collective of robots decides when and how Order produced. At the same time, the production process must be broken down into its individual components and interdependencies. This results in tasks with temporal dependencies, which the robots must divide among themselves.

Posted by Till Hofmann on August 30, 2018 09:45

Carologistics defend the championship title at the RoboCup German Open Logistics League

The Team Carologistics, which is composed of researchers and students of the Cybernetics Lab IMA & IfU, the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (both RWTH Aachen University), and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences) successfully defended the German championship title in the RoboCup Logistics League for the fourth time in a row. The RoboCup German Open took place from 25 to 29 April at the Magdeburg exhibition halls.

After an exciting group phase, the Carologistics started into the playoffs leading with 106 points, one point ahead of the runner-up GRIPS from Graz University of Technology. After the playoffs, both teams faced each other again in the final.

In the final against GRIPS, also the runner-up of last year's international RoboCup, the game was extended by an overtime of 5 minutes for the first time in the history of RoboCup Logistics League because both teams were tied at the end of the regular game. The Carologistics then took the lead by two points and kept it until the end of the game. At the end of the game, they could almost score another two points, but - as in the World Cup in Japan - the final action was finished one second after the end of the game and so the game ended with a narrow lead of Carologistics.

In the RoboCup Logistics League, two teams compete with up to three autonomous mobile robots in an intralogistics scenario against each other. The playing field is a smart factory from the context of the Industry 4.0, where intelligent machines manufacture complex products in varying production environments.The scenario is particularly characterized by the comprehensive communication and cooperation of the mobile robot. In the first phase of the game, each robot team explores the previously unknown playing field, creating a common "world view". In the second phase, the electronic referee (RefBox) announces complex products that must be produced cooperatively within certain time-windows. In this phase, the robots have to re-plan frequently, as the opponent plays on the same field and therefore the accessibility of paths or machines is always subject to variations. Machines spontaneously switch to a maintenance condition and can not be used at this time, and because individual steps such as grasping a product may fail occasionally.

In preparation for the RoboCup World Championships in Montreal, Canada in June, the team will focus on improving the gripper system to allow more robust autonomous grasping of work pieces in order to make full use of the newly developed agent system.

Posted by Till Hofmann on May 1, 2018 09:00

Carologistics win the fourth world championship in Japan

The team Carologistics (RWTH Aachen and FH Aachen) was able to defend their title as world champion of the RoboCup Logistics League against team GRIPS from Graz with 58 to 28 points in a very exciting final on July 30.

In the RoboCup Logistics League, two teams compete with up to three autonomous mobile robots in an intralogistics scenario against each other. The playing field is a smart factory from the context of the Industry 4.0, where intelligent machines manufacture complex products in varying production environments.The scenario is particularly characterized by the comprehensive communication and cooperation of the mobile robot. In the first phase of the game, the robot team explores the previously unknown playing field, creating a common "world view". In the second phase, the electronic referee (RefBox) announces complex products that must be produced cooperatively. In this phase, the robots have to re-plan frequently, as the opponent plays on the same field and therefore the accessibility of paths or machines is always subject to variations, because machines spontaneously switch to a maintenance condition and can not be used at this time, and because individual steps such as grasping a product may fail occasionally.

In this year's finals, the production phase started with an exciting head-to-head race of the two opponents. The first finished product of team Carologistics was lost in a slight, rule-compliant collision with a GRIPS robot. The team from Graz was able to keep up by preparing additional production steps. Only with the second produced and first successfully delivered product, Carologistics gained an advantage that ultimately lead to Carologistics’ triumph. A third product was also produced, but was delivered two seconds after the end of the game and thus no longer counted.

The Carologistics, which won the world championship for the fourth consecutive time, consists of scientists and students of the Cybernetics Lab IMA/ZLW & IfU (RWTH Aachen, Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Sabina Jeschke), the Knowledge-Based Systems Group (RWTH Aachen, Computer Science, Prof. Gerhard Lakemeyer), and the MASCOR Institute (FH Aachen, Electrical Engineering and information technology, Prof. Alexander Ferrein). This year was a very special RoboCup. Exactly 20 years after the very first RoboCup in Nagoya, Japan, RoboCup returned to its birthplace.The Carologistics could not only inspire tech-savvy people with their robots, but to the delight of the spectators, they also moderated their games in Japanese. In addition to the world title, the Carologistics won the Technical Challenge, where different types of machines had to be identified only by image processing and without the normally used AR tags, and where the teams had to play a game in a cloud-based simulation.

Next year the RoboCup will be held from June 15 to June 22 in Montreal, Canada. In addition, there will be another German Open in Magdeburg.

Posted by Till Hofmann on August 1, 2017 09:00