Despite tremendous technological progress in robotics, it is often only economical to purchase a robot when it is used in an automation time for a considerable amount of time. Some reasons are that installation, maintenance, and programming are too time-consuming and expensive. Thus, even for large orders in the range of tens of thousands of parts to be produced, the order is handled manually.
A second problem is that flexible automation solutions requires uncaged robots. If robots are caged, the benefits of flexible automation solutions are canceled by consuming unnecessarily much floor space and installation costs.
We are developing modular robots that can program themselves and verify their own actions. In each module we store information for its characterization. Once the robot is assembled, this information is transferred to a central control unit that generates a kinematic, dynamic, and geometric model of the robot.
This information enables the robot to program its controllers itself, such as computed-torque control or passivity-based control. Collision checking including self-collision checking is also automatically handled. Our modular robots also use formal methods for safe human-robot co-existence so that they can be certified for use outside of cages.