Although they are now all working on different projects, Randy and Jan keep in touch with Noé via Skype and Facebook and, sometimes, after office hours they still find time to work together on one of their favourite FROG robots.
Recently Jan and Randy fitted 2 extra lasers to cover some blind spots at the sides to FROG – this meant they had to make holes in the shell (shhh ….. nobody tell Paulo!).
The extra lasers allow protoFROG (aka the Campus Robot) to navigate better through spaces and some corners inside its new seasonal home, the DesignLab.
There, HMI Masters‘ students are using FROG as a platform for researching receptionist robots as part of the R3D3 project (part of the Dutch national COMMIT program).
Fernando Caballero Benitez and Luis Merino have been working together since 2003. They work on robot localisation and navigation, respectively. A robot first needs to know where it is (localisation) in order to carry out its mission (navigation). Fernando’s expertise is a bit more towards aerial robots, Luis’ towards ground robots.
PhD students who are fortunate enough to have these two as their supervisors are very lucky. It may be hard work but that goes with some solid training in the science that is the fundament of what they do, and sincere appreciation for what the PhD’s achieve. It’s a pleasure to see this close supervision in action – even if you don’t understand Spanish.
Apart from lots of lecturing and work in projects, Fernando is taking part in one of the European Robotics Challenge in the GRVC–CATEC team taking on Challenge 3. These Challenges are set up in stages, something like the levels in a game. Each stage has to be overcome in order to pass on to the next phase and to acquire more funding. The first stage is to sift out the serious participants. The GRVC – CATEC team hopes to go on to the second phase after October 2014.
Fernando likes a good barbecue and he designed our polos.
One day Fernando will get around to making a serious, English language website and you will then find the link here. Till then we’ll have to make do with his publications page.
Luis and Fernando lead and supervise UPO’s team of young researchers………..
Ignacio Pérez Hurtado de Mendoza is a computer science postdoc interested in the application of machine learning techniques to social robotics. In the FROG project supports the development of software modules related to the navigation of the robot and assists with the deployment of experiments.
Noé Pérez Higueras is in charge of the safe and robust navigation of the FROG robot in (indoor and outdoor) environments with people. Noé is trying to add social capabilities to navigation algorithms so that the robot respects human social conventions and guarantees the comfort of surrounding persons.
His PhD Thesis is on: “Robot autonomous navigation and interaction in pedestrian environments“.
Noé’s PhD is directly related to his work in the FROG project. Mainly, he is studying the different robot navigation algorithms and trying to extend them by adding social skills. To do that he employs machine learning techniques in order to learn from real people how they navigate between each other in crowded scenarios.
In 2014 Noé spent 3 weeks in the Netherlands, mapping the Gallery at the University of Twente for the opening ceremony with the Dutch king.
Noé fitted in well with the UT PhDs and will continue to work with some of them in the TERESA project. When he makes a website we will link to it here.
In the FROG project,Javier Pérez-Lara is working on improving localisation algorithms, based not only in laser readings but also on appearance matching, to recover from erroneous convergences to wrong localisation or even recovering from complete lost situations.
Javier’s thesis topic is related to robust localisation for mobile robot navigation and mobile robot interaction in crowded environments. Where we try to take into account the variability of crowded environments when localising and relocalising mobile robots.
Rafael Ramón Vigo’s knowledge of transversal competences like electronics, software and hardware are all put to good use in the FROG project. Rafael provides help with the general set up of the robotic platform and assists with the deployment of experiments.
Rafael’s PhD thesis work is on how to infer from data and its statistics the insights of human motion navigation, with the idea of transferring it to the robot’s navigation stack. The basis of this approach is to use machine learning algorithms.
Rafael also grows delicious mangoes. Recently his family planted nearly 2000 young trees that will come into production in 4 or 5 years time.
In 2013, Noé, Javier and Rafael had to spend weeks at a time in Lisbon. Though often cold or very tired, they did discover some good places to eat and were given Wi-Fi access at most of them.
How about this for an emblem? It looks great on the FROG polos.
The emblem printed on the polos is actually a reversed version of the docking target. It is a set of ArUco markers that just happen to say FROG – though it probably took Fernando Caballero quite some time to find them. UPO uses this ArUco marker to align the FROG to its charger during the docking procedure.
This week the guys from UT are using UPO’s simulation environment on the protoFROG (the UT Campus robot) to test some new features for guiding missions.
From the 15 to the 26 of September, FROG (the green one) will be running these missions for experiments and evaluation tests at the Royal Alcázar in Seville. Unlike this simulation, the FROG will actually be driving around to run its missions.
FROG has appeared on what is considered to be the most viewed television channel in Europe – TF1! A French film crew came to talk to the researchers during an integration and experimentation week at the Royal Alcázar in Seville:
The UPO research team has made a mockup of the space where the FROG will go to recharge. UPO is finalizing their implemention of the docking sequence.
After testing, the docking station will be placed in the shop near the entrance of the Royal Alcazar. This will be the FROG’s base for all of next week. When it is running low on power, the robot will return to the shop, align itself to the docking station and drive on to recharge its batteries.
This lab has a view of the Tennis Courtyard of the Royal Alcazar and the tower of the cathedral.
FROG is on its way to Seville for the next Integration meeting at the Real Alcázar. The UPO team will make a final map of the Real Alcázar route in preparation for the arrival of the other partners on 24 February 2014.
A collaborative project under the FP7-ICT-2011.2.1 Cognitive Systems and Robotics (a), (d) area of activity.