Autonomous robots, e.g. transport robots, can be used in industrial scenarios. In contrast to robots with fixed programming, where all movements are prescribed precisely, autonomous robots can adapt their movements and behaviour to the current situation. Thus an autonomous transport robot can, e.g., change its route if obstacles are blocking its way. However, even autonomous robots can run into situations where they cannot find a solution on their own and therefore need help, e.g., from a human. In this demonstration, a system is presented which automatically contacts a human in such a case; it provides an overview of the situation of the robot and the error that occurred as well as the available (technical) options, e.g., a “Transfer of Control” (ToC) to solve the problem. The human does not have to be in the vicinity of the robot to help. They can even be in a different country or on another continent. An important component to present the current situation of the robot is images or videos of the immediate surroundings of the robot. The system demonstrated here selects the best-suited from all cameras in the vicinity of the robot. In cases where the existing cameras are not sufficient, or no camera is available at all, the robot can call a camera drone that flies automatically to the robot’s position to provide a better overview. In the demonstration scenario, the task of the autonomous transportation robot MiRi is to bring a piece of equipment to a worker and then proceed to the robot’s resting/charging station.
There are a number of cameras in the workshop (“MRK 4.0 Lab”). Most of them are stationary, i.e., in a fixed place, with a fixed camera angle and focal length. There is a one-pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera where camera angle and zoom can be controlled. On the transportation robot itself, there is a camera that provides an “ego perspective”(POV camera). There is also a camera drone with a camera pointing straight downwards with a fixed zoom.
MiRi is the autonomous robot platform
Camera drone is the flying eye of Industry 4.0
Worker in the workshop, waiting for delivery of the product component and available to provide assistance in place
Dopey is a goofy worker who likes to leave boxes lying around
Robot assistant is a human, e.g., in the Czech Republic, who can help the robot remotely