Science and Technology

Domestic robots compete at Técnico

The biggest tournament of the European Robotics League (ERL) – Service Robots for the new season 2017/2018 brings together five teams from around the world and includes several challenges related to the various household chores.

The Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR) hosts from 28th to 31st August the European Robotics League (ERL) – Service Robots Challenge, a scientific competition involving robots that operate in domestic environment, capable of interacting with humans and help them in domestic tasks.

Object recognition is one of the tasks that these robots must perform. Recognising the house as well as its main objects; identifying requests (by voice) such as to turn on and to turn off the lights, picking up specific objects; tracking people around to help them carrying their stuff, are some of the tasks of this competition. Almost all these tasks will be performed in a fully furnished and equipped apartment.

During this year, and similarly to what will happen in the upcoming days at Técnico, several local tournaments will take place in different research labs across Europe. The main goal of the competition is “to drive forward robotics research through creative solutions that usually emerge from these competitions. As challenges evolve every year, an integrated approach is required so that the various subsystems can operate isolated and all together”, explains professor Pedro U. Lima, one of the organisers of this event.

Each team must participate at least into two tournaments per year to be eligible for an award. “The scores are based on the performance of robotic tasks”, explains professor Pedro Lima. Two teams from the UK, one team from Germany, one team from Pakistan and one team from IST – Socrob@Home – participated in this tournament. In 2016/2017, ISR team ranked 4th among several participating teams and 2nd among the teams that participated in a minimum number of tournaments required to validate the result. The ISR team achieved a 100% success rate in the object recognition task, which can be a good omen for the rest of the competition. The activities can be followed in real time here.