Industrial robot with radar-based collision protection

The technology is already state of the art in modern cars: radar sensors that alert the driver when the vehicle is approaching an obstacle. Collision protection of this kind is also crucial in the future of production - smart factories where intelligent industrial robots are expected to act completely autonomously in an increasing number of work steps - in order to ensure safe cooperation between man and machine. In the RoboMove project, Fraunhofer EMFT is working with robotics manufacturer KUKA and InnoSenT GmbH to develop an intelligent 3D distance measurement and obstacle detection system for robot arms in motion.

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In the project, a highly integrated radar system with intelligent 3D environmental sensing and close-range detection will be developed, enabling reliable detection even in dynamic application areas. The challenge is to ensure safe, automated execution of the machine's working steps during the movement of the robot arm in case of sudden changes in the environment. Imminent collisions with workers or obstacles with the robot must be detected properly and in time, in order to enable the appropriate reaction such as an evasive movement or an emergency stop.

For the implementation of the control and safeguarding of industrial robots, characterization of their environment is needed. The latest technologies and machine learning methods are to be used for this. In the project, Fraunhofer EMFT will analyze and optimize the object recognition based on the target list returned by the radar, so that not only the distance to an obstacle is recognized, but also which object it is. In order to mount the radar modules optimally on robot arms, the complete radar sensor technology will also be integrated on flexible and stretchable foils. Fraunhofer EMFT is providing its broad expertise in the field of flexible electronics here.

The project is being funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy within the funding line "Digitization - Electronic Systems" under the funding code DIE 0130.

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