The Robotics and Mechatronics Center (RMC) is a cluster and DLR’s competence center for research and development in the areas of robotics, mechatronics, and optical systems. Mechatronics is the closest integration of mechanics, electronics and information technology for the realization of “intelligent mechanisms” which interact with their environment. The core competence of RMC is the interdisciplinary (virtual) design, computer-aided optimization and simulation, as well as implementation of complex mechatronic systems and human-machine interfaces. In the robotics community, the center is considered as one of the world leading institutions.
In the near future, high-altitude platforms could extend application fields presently covered by satellites and are therefore often named HAPS, which stands for high-altitude pseudo satellites. Possible applications range from establishing communication networks to long-term recording of weather and environmental data. The DLR Flying Robots group is working in close cooperation with Elektra UAS GmbH and SolarXplorers SA (Solarstratos project) on highly efficient drives, avionics components, as well as payloads and autonomy functionalities for autonomous and optionally piloted solar high-altitude platforms and missions.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The airborne observatory SOFIA offers a unique access to the astronomically hardly explored THz spectral range with the latest technologies. With the spectrometers GREAT/upGREAT it is for the first time possible to detect the important atomic oxygen line at 4.7 THz with high spectral resolution. The enabling technology for these measurements is a THz laser system developed at DLR.
DLR develops, verifies and tests innovative remote sensing systems. The image data obtained with these sensors are processed automatically in order to provide highly accurate true orthophoto mosaics and surface models. These mosaics and models are the basis for applications such as real-time extraction of objects, automated 3D reconstruction for geospecific simulation worlds or semantic geoinformation for urban applications.
DLR developed the camera electronics including the focal plane, the controller and the power supply for the korean Kompsat-3 and 3A Earth observation satellites. The focal plane enables high-resolution imagery of the surface of the Earth with a ground sampling distance of up to 0.5 m in two panchromatic channels and 2m in four multi-spectral channels (red, green, blue, near infrared).
The key research area Flying Robots covers several domains of the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center – Aeronautics, Space, Robotics, and Optical Information Systems – in order to exploit synergies in the development of robotics technologies for autonomous flying platforms. The spectrum of our work ranges from low-level control and sensor data processing to mission planning and execution.
The LRU (Lightweight Rover Unit) is a semi-autonomous DLR rover prototype for robotic exploration of the Moon or Mars. It combines a number of the latest technologies developed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, such as drive and steering units with motors that have demonstrated their suitability for space in DLR’s ROKVISS experiment, which was on the ISS for five years.
Force-Feedback Joystick for the International Space Station ISS—developed in the project Kontur-2.Astronauts onboard the ISS can telemanipulate robots on earth and are able to feel the resulting interaction forces from the robot on the ground.This enables the sensitive manipulation despite the large distances.
DLR/Simon Schätzle (CC-BY 3.0).
FireBIRD is an Earth observation mission with the primary goal of monitoring fires from space. It involves the detection of high-temperature events. The FireBIRD mission provides remote sensing data for research at DLR and for external partners. The space segment consists of two satellites: TET-1 (Launch 2012) and BIROS (Launch 2016). The main payload for both satellites is camera system for visible and infrared wavelengths.
The mobile humanoid robot Rollin' Justin is utilized as a research platform for autonomous dexterous mobile manipulation in human environments. In the future humanoid robots are envisioned in household applications as well as in space environments.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The Integrated Positioning Systems (IPS) is a system developed by DLR Berlin for pose estimation in an unknown environment for indoor- and outdoor applications. It does not require any external information such as GPS. IPS is based on a multi-sensor approach which allows the determination of the ego motion of an object in all six degrees of freedom in a robust and reliably way.
The DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer DESIS has 235 spectral channels. It is developed by DLR and will be operated on board of the International Space Station. The spatial resolution of the spectrometer is 30m in the visible and near-infarred spectral region (400–1000nm) with a swath width of 30km.
The ROMO provides a flexible research platform for control and estimation developments for energy management and vehicle dynamics.
MERTIS is one of the scientific payloads of the ESA deep space mission BepiColombo. BepiColombo will be launched in 2018 to observe the planet Mercury from 2024 on. The instrument is developed by DLR in cooperation with University of Münster. The instrument is based on a highly integrated infrared spectrometer, featuring low mass of only about 3kg and low power consumption of less than 10W.
Manufacturing flexibility can be greatly improved by using cognitive robot systems that are able to learn. Such systems enable the automation of the assembly of single-unit products, as well as natural interactions with the human co-worker in shared workspaces. The picture shows a demonstrator for automatic and flexible assembly of complex aluminum structures with two lightweight-robot arms, which was developed within the EU-Project SMErobotics.
Real-time telepresent and virtual interactions require haptic devices to realistically display forces to the user. HUG is a bimanual haptic device composed of two Light-Weight Robot arms that are capable of generating highly dynamic interaction forces to the human hand. HUG is used to conduct research in various applications in remote and virtual environments, comprising telerobotics with SpaceJustin, virtual assembly verifications, rehabilitation tasks, and training of astronauts and mechanics.
The mineralogy of particles returned to Earth from the asteroid Itokawa by the japaneses Hayabusa Mission in 2010 is a milestone in space exploration. Investigation of these samples allows obtaining the age of the asteroid surface, which is an important indicator for the evolution of the asteroid as well as of our Solar System. Raman spectroscopic investigations enable the nondestructive determination of the mineralogy of these small (typical size 0.1mm) and precious particles.
The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the Institute of System Dynamics and Control moved into the new premises of the RMC in summer 2015. With space for 300 colleagues and 80 students, the new building will foster closer cooperation between the two institutes within the RMC.
DLR CC-BY 3.0.
David is an anthropomorphic robot developed at DLR using variable stiffness actuators (VSA). It is intended to approach its human archetype in size, weight, and performance. The focus of the development is on robustness, high dynamics, and dexterity.
The RMC is a reserach partner in the mountain wave project. DLR has customized its modular airborne camera system MACS for the Himalayan campaign 2013/2014. After the heavy earthquake in Nepal (2014) the dedicated maps resulting from the aerial images of the Kathmandu region were delivered to aid organizations by DLR’s Center for Crisis Information (ZKI).
The application of technology and systems developed in the cluster are focusing primarily on the programmatic tasks in the research areas space, aeronautics, and transport. The developed technologies have direct impact and applications in other societal areas such as medical robotics, factory of the future, and personal robot assistance. Technology transfer is a major goal of RMC.