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Australian Robot “Cartman” Will Turn Logistics Upside Down in Amazon Challenge

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is competing against 15 other finalists from around the world in the third annual Amazon Robotics Challenge to be held during RoboCup 2017 in Nagoya, Japan from Thursday 27 July.

The challenge showcases logistics robots that can pick and stow items in a warehouse, with teams from ten countries to compete for bragging rights and a prize pool of US$250,000.

Centre Team members with Cartman

Ten members of the Centre’s 24-strong team of researchers, sourced from Queensland University of Technology, The University of Adelaide and the Australian National University, will arrive in Japan next week to unpack and reassemble their robot, Cartman.

Cartman is a three-axis Cartesian robot developed by the team that grabs items from above, for maximum pick and stow efficiency, a move the team hopes will shake up the competition.

The team will be judged based on the number of items Cartman successfully retrieves and stores within a set time, and also on Cartman’s abilities like object recognition, posture control, and grasp planning.

Dr Juxi Leitner, Team Captain, QUT

According to team leader, Dr Juxi Leitner, “The Amazon challenge is a chance to really advance the Centre’s mission of creating robots that see and understand a task in a real world environment like a warehouse”.

Amazon says it will switch out half of the items on the day of event. That means Cartman’s robotic vision system will need to be super smart since it can’t be trained to recognise all the objects before the competition.

Dr Anton Milan, The University of Adelaide

Dr Anton Milan and researchers from The University of Adelaide took the lead on improving Cartman’s vision system, “We are dealing with the recognition of the objects, basically understanding what the camera sees and what the robot should do based on what it sees,” says Anton. “We have had to create a system that’s robust because we’ll be dealing with a lot of objects that we haven’t seen in the six months leading up to the competition.”

Team leader Juxi says the rule changes actually make this year’s challenge more suited to the research being done by the Centre.

“We see the Amazon Robotics Challenge as a very interesting problem, allowing us to showcase how you bring robotics and computer vision together to create something larger than the sum of those two parts,” says Juxi.

Follow the team’s progress on Twitter (@RoboticVisionAU) and Facebook (RoboticVisionAU) when the competition starts on Thursday 27 July in Nagoya, Japan.

About the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is an ARC Centre of Excellence that leads the world in the new discipline of robotic vision, applying computer vision to robotics. The Centre is an unincorporated collaborative venture between interdisciplinary researchers from leading Australian and international research organisations; Queensland University of Technology (QUT), The University of Adelaide (Adelaide), The Australian National University (ANU), and Monash University, CSIRO (Data61), the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) Rennes, Georgia Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, and the University of Oxford.

 

Posted July 24, 2017

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision
2 George Street Brisbane, 4001
+61 7 3138 7549