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Cooperative robot teams performing in hospitals

: Thiel, S.; Schlegel, T.; Häbe, D.

Teti, R. ; International Institution for Production Engineering Research -CIRP-, Paris:
Intelligent Computation in Manufacturing Engineering, CIRP ICME 2008. CD-ROM : Innovative and Cognitive Production Technology and Systems. 6th CIRP International Conference, 23-25 July, 2008, Naples, Italy
Naples, 2008
ISBN: 978-88-900948-7-3
Session C5, 5 pp.
International Conference on Intelligent Computation in Manufacturing Engineering (ICME) <6, 2008, Naples>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAO ()

Development of service robots in hospitals has mainly been focused on single robots specialized to perform a well-defined task. Even if these robots are capable to do a high effective job, they need to get maintained separately and each robot provides its own specialized user interface. The research project IWARD addresses these issues together with related aspects in Human Robot Interaction (HRI), robotics and artificial intelligence. In IWARD many robots work together in a team to fulfil various applications that occur in a hospital. These robots can be accessed using a unique integrated user interface that is developed according to a user centred design. Having several robots co-operating, an optimized task planning and scheduling can be achieved. Since IWARD robots need to be capable to perform various different applications, they are developed following a modular design. Thus robots can get equipped with dedicated modules providing sensory and actors for a certain application. E.g. a cleaning module helps maintaining the hygienic standard. Having robots working in a hospital, safety and reliability are features of superior importance. This requires IWARD robots operating failsafe in any conditions, which includes the potential breakdown of any device of the system. For this reason it is not acceptable to have a centralized remote control of the robots. So IWARD robots establish a team of full qualified self organizing robots. This means not only to have distributed planning and scheduling, but also to share a common model based on distributed perception assembly. This paper introduces into the concept of IWARD with a special focus on the benefits of cooperative robot teams performing in a hospital.