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University of Basque Country Researching on Intelligent Robots

Mr. Basilio Sierra, who heads the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at the Computer Sciences Faculty of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), has reported that his team of computer scientists and experts in statistics are doing research in the field of cognitive robotics.  The teams are also involved in developing intelligent robots that can make decisions.

Information from the surroundings is received by sensors, which include cameras, laser rays, ultrasound, infrared, etc. Based on the conclusion derived, robots will move with wheels operated by a motor. A recently developed robot of this kind is Tartalo. According to Ms Elena Lazkano, a member of the team, the most important skill that Tartalo has been taught is to recognize doors. To avoid ambiguity, a program was included that identifies door knobs of one specific type. For furthering the study of robots, the team procured commercial robots and incorporated their software devices to achieve the desired functions.

Together with Tekniker, the team has developed a prototype model of the NOA wheelchair that enables a disabled person to operate a single machine in all the ambits of their daily lives. When the button is pushed, sensors added to the power assisted wheels enable the wheelchair to mount the sidewalk.

Researchers in Europe are specializing in the area of social robotics and it is expected that soon, these robots will find their application in performing household jobs. Recently, the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Groups was certified under Category A by the Basque Government. The team is a part of ETORTEK, a project on transport, promoted by a Basque development agency called SPRI. The team is also a member of the EUROP and EURON robotics research networks in Europe-.


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