Team ViGIR (Virginia-Germany Interdisciplinary Robotics), comprising researchers from TORC Robotics, Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt, Virginia Tech, and Oregon State University, is a collaborative research and development effort aimed at advancing the state-of-the-art in humanoid robot control in order to allow for effective human-robot teams. Our goal is to enable robots to respond more effectively to humanitarian disasters, thereby reducing the risk to humans.
Our Atlas robot is named “Florian” after the patron saint of fire fighters; the "Florian Cross" is seen on many fire-fighter logos across the world. With robots like Florian, first-responders could perform the most hazardous activities in future disaster response operations from a safe and remote location. In the future, robots like Florian will work with their human counterparts to reduce casualties, avoid further destruction, and save lives.
Our focus is on developing innovative control concepts that allow the human operators to direct the robot to perform various tasks under constrained communications. The approach involves innovative user interface concepts with task directed autonomous control onboard the robot. By making effective use of the human’s superior capabilities for perception and high-level reasoning, the human operator can direct the robot through various tasks necessary to respond to humanitarian disasters.
Team ViGIR is leveraging a number of open source tools to facilitate rapid development of the high-level control and perception software. Our team plans to release our software at the end of the competition to facilitate future development of humanitarian disaster response robots.