RoboCup@Work is a new competition in RoboCup that targets the use of robots in work-related scenarios. RoboCup@Work utilizes proven ideas and concepts from RoboCup competitions to tackle open research challenges in industrial and service robotics. With the introduction of this new event, RoboCup opens up to communities researching both classical and innovative robotics scenarios with very high relevance for the robotics industry.
Examples for the work-related scenarios targeted by RoboCup@Work include:
- loading and/or unloading of containers with/of objects with the same or different size,
- pickup or delivery of parts from/to structured storages and/or unstructured heaps,
- operation of machines, including pressing buttons, opening/closing doors and drawers, and similar operations with underspecified or unknown kinematics,
- flexible planning and dynamic scheduling of production processes involving multiple agents (humans, robots, and machines),
- cooperative assembly of non-trivial objects, with other robots and/or humans,
- cooperative collection of objects over spatially widely distributed areas
- cooperative transportation of objects (robots with robots, robots with humans).
The RoboCup@Work scenarios target difficult, mostly unsolved problems in robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced computer science, in particular in perception, path planning and motion planning, mobile manipulation, planning and scheduling, learning and adaptivity, and probabilistic modeling, to name just a few.
Solutions to the problems posed by RoboCup@Work require sophisticated and innovative approaches and methods. The scenarios are defined such that the problems are sufficiently general and independent of particular industrial applications, but also sufficiently close to real application problems that the solutions can be adapted to particular application problems with reasonable effort.
A RoboCup@Work competition has only recently become a feasible idea for several reasons: The arrival of new, small, and flexible robot systems for mobile manipulation allow more university based research labs to perform research in the above-mentioned areas. Advances and a revived interest in the use of simulation technology in robotics enable research groups to perform serious research without having a full set of costly robotics and automation equipment available.
The robotics and automation industry is recently shifting its attention towards robotics scenarios involving the integration of mobility and manipulation, larger-scale integration of service robotics and industrial robotics, cohabitation of robots and humans, and cooperation of multiple robots and/or humans. RoboCup@Work is designed as an instrument to serve all these needs.