Extra Plotting Course for Undergraduates

From Hilary Term onwards, Oxford Robotic Institute (ORI) is running an extra-curricular course for Engineering Science undergraduates to design and manufacture a 2D pen plotter. The "First Year Plotter Challenge" is an optional six-week activity that offers an opportunity to get hands-on experience of the entire engineering process: from CAD design, 3D printing, and electronic and mechanical assembly, to programming an Arduino using G-Code, the language used for 3D printers.  At the end of the course, the students will go home with a compact, and simple A4 sized pen plotter, and the means to program it and control it ‘at home’. It is hoped that giving them hands-on experience will motivate them to learn more about programming, control, and robotics in general. The project incorporates many different aspects of what we do at ORI. From physical manufacturing and electrical assembly [...]

7 years on

Exactly 7 years ago, MRG made the headlines as they demonstrated the first autonomous vehicle on UK roads, driving around Begbroke Science Park on a snowy winters day. Which makes today a great day to celebrate the achievements of this amazing robot.   Since then, the RobotCar has become the most notable data collection platform for the ORI: the 10K data-set has been cited over 300 times. The Robot Car was also used for the follow on Radar RobotCar Dataset, which is becoming a standard benchmark for Radar algorithms in Autonomous Vehicles. [bibtex key="MaddernIJRR2016"] [bibtex key="RadarRobotCarDatasetICRA2020"] However, all good things must come to an end, and in January the RobotCar went to its new home at the British Science Museum. Over the course of R lifetime, Autonomous Vehicles have come from relative obscurity to making regular front [...]

Testing ANYmal at RACE

On Tuesday the 26th of November, Oxford Robotics Institute visited RACE to test out their ANYmal at the mobility benchmarking lanes. This is part of our RAIN collaboration to test the reliability of different mobile robots. The terrain course, consisting of three ‘lanes’, was first developed by NIST, the U.S's National Institute of Standards and Technology. The lanes provide a standard benchmark for all small/medium  wheeled, tracked and legged robots. Gravel Ramps Stepfield This visit tested a range of existing controllers, as a baseline to evaluate methods currently in development. We tried all three lanes with varying success. The gravel pit was easy to overcome though we expected that soft granular terrain would be challenging, a short clip of ANYmal trotting in the gravel lane is here: We further tested [...]

ORCA Hub Demo – Blyth 2019

In a cold, wet week at the beginning of October, a team from Oxford Robotics Institute headed north to Blyth, near Newcastle, for the ORCA Hub demonstrations. A large warehouse, normally used for testing off-shore wind turbines, hosted teams from a number of different universities, all keen to demonstrate their advances in research in the last 12 months. The ORCA Robotics Hub is funded by the UK's Industry Strategic Challenge Fund (ISCF) to develop industrially relevant robotics and AI for extreme environments, specifically the offshore energy domain. The trials were attended by over 50 industrial partners from across the offshore industry. Our team had three demonstrations. An autonomous inspection mission had ANYmal follow a pre-determined route through the facility, using the on-board cameras, LIDAR and thermal cameras to survey a series of dials and targets of interest. This autonomous [...]