TRADR Year 2 Review in Dortmund, Germany
The TRADR Year 2 review took place in Dortmund (Germany) on Wednesday March 16 and Thursday March 17. On Wednesday the consortium presented its scientific results and on Thursday we demonstrated the integrated system at Phönix Phönix West, an abandoned furnace. The integrated system showcased Y2 work, with emphasis on persistence. The demonstration mission was carried out by a team consisting of a mission commander, a team leader, two UGVs each with an operator and one UAV with an operator and a pilot. One of the UGVs had a camera-equipped arm. The human team members operated remotely from a command truck, except for the UAV pilot in line of sight. The team assessed a part of the building, searched for victims and sources of potentially dangerous materials. The UAV was used for initial overview and subsequent search on the outside, the UGVs explored multilevel terrain inside, partially obstructed by smoke. Main focus was on acquiring and sharing situation awareness among team members across multiple sorties and across team shifts. The robots mapped the environment, provided a video feed and were used to take photos. The human team members were equipped with interfaces presenting them information according to their role(s). Team communication and information about the progress of the mission were collected and accessible in a mission reporting tool. We demonstrated various partial autonomy features designed to facilitate the human operators’ task, including terrain profile estimation from interoceptive sensing, adaptive traversability to automatically control the UGV flippers, a novel free-look control mode for the UGV, virtual bumpers on the UAV. Finally, a mixed-initiative path planning approach and a novel mapping framework designed to support persistence and decrease computational load were also presented. The overall progress of the project was evaluated by the predicate “very good”.