Leon, 7 March 2018
Discussions about the different characteristics of competing mobile manipulators and a Pepper robot were a feature of a recent European Robotics League Service Robots (ERL-SR) competition held in León, Spain on 22–26 January 2018.
Such discussions and collaboration between competing teams are common in the ERL-SR tournaments held around Europe to allow researchers to test their ideas about assistive robots in simulated real-life conditions, against the clock.
The competing researchers also address important issues such as the possible social impacts of using robots, before the technologies become mainstream.
The teams’ technical approaches could find their way into future commercial robots providing assistive care, typically to people with age-related impairments or disabilities, thus helping people to remain independent for longer. The advanced systems and techniques used by ERL competition teams, typically for voice and face recognition, could also be suitable for a wide range of non-care uses in all areas of life.
The León tournament was held at the Módulo de Investigación en Cibernética – Escuela de Ingenierías Industrial e Informática, Universidad de León. It was organised by Dr. Vicente Matellán and Dr. Camino Fernández in the robotics group of the University of León, with important support locally from Dr. Meysam Basiri, from ISR-Lisbon, Portugal. Basiri was also the referee for the León tournament.
Three teams with a total of 11 members competed — two from Spain and a joint team from Spain and Luxembourg:
• Robotics Lab Uc3M, the University Carlos III de Madrid
• Outsiders, the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) and the University of Luxembourg
• Leonbot, the University of León
The challenges for the teams included understanding natural speech and finding and retrieving objects. The robots also had to greet visitors at the door appropriately, such as by welcoming a visiting doctor and turning away unwanted visitors.
The following task benchmarks (TBMs) and functionality benchmarks (FBMs) were tested at León:
• TBM1: Getting to know my home
• TBM4: Visit my home
• FBM1: Object perception
• FBM2: Navigation
• FBM3: Speech recognition
For each benchmark, the five best runs were counted for each team and the final score for each team and benchmark was the median of the scores.
Robotics Lab Uc3M had a TIAGo robot from Pal Robotics. It focused on navigation and entered the Task Benchmark (TBM) 1, TBM4 and Functionality Benchmark (FBM) 2 tests.
Outsiders entered FBM3 with a Pepper robot. The URJC members focused on navigation and the Luxembourg member on speech recognition. Outsiders let the other teams try the Pepper standard software, which led to very interesting discussions about the different characteristics of the robot and the other teams’ mobile manipulators, said the organisers.
Leonbot used an RB1 robot in the FBM1, FBM2 and TBM4 tests.
ERL-SR teams participate in a minimum of two local or major tournaments per year. Teams are ranked on their end-of-year scores for TBMs and FBMs, using the best two participations in tournaments.
The ERL-SR winners for the 2017–18 season will be announced at the European Robotics Forum (ERF), to be held in Tampere in Finland on 13–15 March 2018. Winners of the ERL Industry Robot (ERL-IR) and ERL Emergency Robot (ERL-IR) competitions will also be announced.
The ERL-ER prizes for task challenges were awarded during the Awards Ceremony for the emergency robots competition held at Piombino, Italy on 15-23 September 2017. The ERL-ER prizes for functional challenges will be awarded at an ERF Gala Dinner on 14 March 2018.
Vicente Matellán Olivera
Depto. Ing. Mecánica, Informática y Aeroespacial
Universidad de León
Escuela de Ingenierías Industrial e Informática
Campus de Vegazana s/n, 24071
Phone: +34 987 291 743
• Robotics Lab Uc3M
University Carlos III de Madrid
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) and the University of Luxembourg
University of León
Notes for editors
The ERL-SR event at León was organised by Dr. Vicente Matellán and Dr. Camino Fernández of the Robotics Group of the University of León, Spain, with local support from Dr. Meysam Basiri, from ISR-Lisbon, Portugal.
European Robotics League
The European Robotics League (ERL) is the successor to the RoCKIn, euRathlon and EuRoC robotics competitions, funded by the EU and designed to foster scientific progress and innovation in cognitive systems and robotics. The ERL is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and runs competitions for service (ERL-SR), industrial (ERL-IR) and emergency robots (ERL-ER).
The ERL is part of the SPARC public-private partnership set up by the European Commission and the euRobotics association to extend Europe’s leadership in civilian robotics. SPARC’s €700 million of funding from the Commission in 2014–0 is being combined with €1.4 billion of funding from European industry.
euRobotics is a European Commission-funded non-profit organisation which promotes robotics research and innovation for the benefit of Europe’s economy and society. It is based in Brussels and has more than 250 member organisations.