April 15, 2016

Opening of the Robotics and Mechatronics Center by Federal Minister Ilse Aigner

The Robotics and Mechatronics Centre is one of the world's largest and most important research centres for applied automation and robotics. The cluster, which is formed by three DLR institutes, now has the required infrastructure. In a festive ceremony on 15 April 2016, the new RMC building at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen was opened by Ilse Aigner, the Bavarian Minister for Economics Affairs, Media, Energy and Technology, Deputy Prime Minister Holger Schlierkamp, Ministerial Director in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and Hansjörg Dittus, DLR Executive Board Member for Space Research and Technology. During this ceremony, German Federal Minister Aigner presented DLR with a grant of 500,000 euro for the continued expansion of the RMC’s competencies.

"With the new RMC facility, we have a unique infrastructure in which to develop robots for space applications, as well as to conduct advanced research for terrestrial applications," says Dittus.

The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronicsand the DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Controlform the basis of the RMC in Oberpfaffenhofen. The cluster is completed by the Institute of Optical Sensor Systemsat the DLR site in Berlin. RMC’s research capacities are conceived to enable a maximum of transfers to other application areas. The new building in Oberpfaffenhofen is expected to support interdisciplinary collaboration at the RMC to achieve maximum synergy. This results in a sustainable economic and scientific location on regional, national and international levels.

Room for interdisciplinary collaboration

The new building was designed by architects Birk, Heilmeyer and Frenzel. Spanning four levels are laboratories and office space for more than 300 employees. On the ground floor, with just under 300 square metres of space, are the main laboratory encircled by secondary laboratories. The laboratory has an open design and can be flexibly subdivided as needed. The basement houses additional research areas, such as test stations for industrial robots or a laboratory for planetary exploration, which provides Mars-like test environments for mobile robots.

The DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronicsuses the new space for research and development in the fields of space robotics, medicinal and healthcare robotics, industrial robotics, intelligent service robotics and all-terrain robotics. "The long-term goal of our Institute is the development of autonomous robots and human-machine interfaces, which allows a more effective and safe physical interaction with the environment," says Alin Albu-Schäffer, Director of the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. The robots are expected to operate in environments that are inaccessible or dangerous to humans while at the same time supporting them in their daily work and relieving them of certain burdens.

The DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Controldevelops efficient system simulations and intelligent control systems for aerospace robots, aircraft, as well as road and rail vehicles. "The core competency of system dynamics and control has a very high potential for synergies between aerospace, aeronautics, energy, transport and security," says Johann Bals, Director of the Institute of System Dynamics and Control. For example, the developed test vehicle ROboMObil is a demonstration of common robotic and control technologies for planetary rovers and terrestrial electromobiles. In the development of methods, the Institute is a leading contributor to the establishment of international standards in the field of physical modelling and simulation. With test stations and the vehicle laboratory in the new building, experts can implement the integration, from computer-aided design to hardware testing.

Technology transfers for industry and research

The Robotics and Mechatronics Centrehas a comprehensive competency network and works in close cooperation with partners in industry. Only in this way is it possible to integrate the technologies developed at the institutes into market-ready products or make them usable in the form of licenses. Key technologies from automation and robotics give German industry a clear advantage over international competitors.

But, within the research landscape, bridges must also be built. Thus, the RMC succeeds in making its developments in aerospace robotics usable on Earth and vice versa. Prominent examples of this can be found in the field of lightweight construction, medicine and industrial robotics. The new RMC building now gives scientists and developers in Oberpfaffenhofenroom for new ideas, applications and concepts in robotics research.

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Bernadette Jung

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Communications and Media Relations: Oberpfaffenhofen, Augsburg, Weilheim
Münchener Straße 20, 82234 Weßling
Tel: +49 8153 28-2251

Dr.-Ing. Alin Olimpiu Albu-Schäffer

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
Münchener Straße 20, 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen-Weßling

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Johann Bals

Head of the Institute
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
In­sti­tute of Sys­tem Dy­nam­ics and Con­trol
Münchener Straße 20, 82234 Weßling