UWE Bristol leads on international robotics competition

Issue date: 23 September 2015


euRathlon '15 - Grand Challenge! Piombino, Italy, 17 – 25 September

More than 40 robots, 120 participants and 16 teams have gathered together in Piombino, Italy to compete at the euRathlon '15 Grand Challenge, led by UWE Bristol.

The 90-hour long robotics competition, hosted near a thermal power plant at Torre del Sale, is designed to test the ability of robots to help out during natural and man-made disasters.

Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, the competition sees teams of university students and industry experts from 15 countries test the intelligence and autonomy of the robot systems they have created, in realistic mock emergency-response scenarios, in front of an international jury.

Land, air and sea robots are challenged to work together to survey the scene of a simulated disaster, collecting environmental data, identifying critical hazards, searching for missing workers and dangerous leaks, all in a race against the clock.

Professor Alan Winfield, euRathlon Project Coordinator and Director of the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol, said, “The competition requires land, sea and air robots, to cooperate in realistic outdoor search and rescue missions. The main objective of the EU funded project is to advance European Search and Rescue robotics by bringing air, land and sea robotics research from university laboratories and research institutions together in one place, and thus speed up the application of that research in real world situations.”

Gabriele Ferri, Technical Director of euRathlon '15 and a CMRE Scientist, says, “This is not the first robotics challenge we have organised but this is the most complex and important one. euRathlon '15 will not only identify the best robots but also the best solutions to an humanitarian emergency which could be used by Search and Rescue teams. This is extremely valuable information for the scientific community.”

euRathlon '15 will also include several side events at Tor del Sale and in Piombino itself. The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa, will show the capabilities of the Robot-Era service robots – robots that can act as personal assistants. While on 23 September, at Tor del Sale, two humanoid robots, WALK-MANandDRC-HUBO, who recently participated in the DARPA Robotics Challenge in Los Angeles , will give a demonstration in disaster response scenarios for the first time in Europe

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