Fundamentals of Human-Centered Robotics

Lecturer (assistant)
TypePractical course
Duration2 SWS
TermSommersemester 2023
Language of instructionEnglish
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline

Admission information


Upon completion of this module, students will be able to understand and evaluate the various methods and technologies of safe physical human-robot interaction. They know how to apply the theoretical principles of robot control for safe human-robot interaction. They will be able to develop robot programs based on the latest methods for global motion planning in dynamic environments. In addition, they have an overview of motion planning algorithms for collision avoidance and can implement them practically in robotics. Starting from a specific problem, they can develop safe and human-friendly programs for physical human-robot interaction and implement and evaluate them in practice.


The Human-Centered Robotics lecture covers a thorough introduction into the technology and intelligent control of collaborative robotic systems. The theoretical foundation and potential applications of interacting robots are discussed in depth. Tutorials deepen conceptual understanding of interactive robotics and corresponding software tools. The students will learn the basics of robot safety, human-friendly AI-based task and path planning in dynamic environments. To gain practical experience and apply the course concepts in cutting-edge robot technology, Robothons are offered that aim to solve real-world challenges with highly motivated student teams consisting of 4-6 members from different disciplines. The course outline is illustrated below. I. Introduction - A short history of robotics - What is Human-Friendly Robotics? II. Mechanical design and dynamic modelling for safety and performance - Rigid robots - Robots with flexible elements - Intrinsically compliant robots - Safety for physical Human-Robot Interaction III. Control methods for unknown environments and Human-Robot Interaction - Perception and actuation for interactive robotics - Motion control - Force and impedance control - Collision handling IV. Real-time motion planning - Real-time trajectory planning - Environment sensing and perception - Real-time motion planning and obstacle avoidance behavior - Hierarchical motion control Exercises will focus on following topics: - Robot Modeling – Introduction into the modeling of rigid and flexible joint robots - Robot Control – Introduction into applied robot control in dynamic environments focusing on human safety - Motion Planning – Design and execution of safe dynamic trajectory planning During the Robothon, students will gain hands-on experience in solving real-world problems using robotic systems. Students will work together in interdisciplinary teams, where each team selects a desired robotic task to implement, with a focus on human-robot collaboration. The students are responsible for managing the entire project, creating the project plan, executing the project in an interdisciplinary team, finishing the project on time, and demonstrating their results to the course participants. For project examples from previous Robothons in Hannover, see the following:


Control Systems 1 Robotics

Teaching and learning methods

This course consists of lectures, theoretical exercises, and a project. Exercises are made available, presented and discussed alongside the lectures. Sample solutions as well as some papers for reading are provided. The Robothon introduces the students to real world problems that should be solved with real state-of-the-art robots in the form of a collaborative and interdisciplinary project. This combines the knowledge from the lectures with real world applications and the proficient use of modern robotic technology.


The module grade is based on the student’s performance in a presentation, a demonstration, as well as a final oral exam (approx. 10 min). This evaluates the students’ knowledge in theoretical basics of human-centered robotics and examines whether they are able to apply this to real world problems and present this result as well as demonstrate.

Recommended literature

- R. M. Murray, Z. Li, S. S. Sastry, ‘A mathematical introduction to robotic manipulation’, CRC press, 2017. - M. W. Spong, S. Hutchinson, M. Vidyasagar, ‘Robot Modeling and Control’, vol. 3, New York: Wiley, 2006. - B. Siciliano, O. Khatib, ‘Springer Handbook of Robotics’, Springer, 2016. - Oussama Khatib, Lecture Notes: Advanced Robotics Manipulation, Stanford University. - O. Khatib, ‘Inertial Properties in Robotic Manipulation: An Object Level Framework’, Int. J. of Robotics Research, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 3-19, 1995. - H. Choset, K. Lynch, S. Hutchinson, G. Kantor, W. Burgard, L. Kavraki, S. Thrun, ‘Principles of Robot Motion: Theory, Algorithms, and Implementation’, MIT Press, 2005.