NSU’s Higher College of Informatics will teach robots to look for electrical sockets

The Higher College of Informatics (HCI NSU) is launching a project to create an autonomous mobile robotic platform with elements of artificial intelligence (AMI). The robot was designed to work in any building and to be able to find electrical sockets for recharging.

The goal of the project is to create a robot capable of independently recharging its batteries. To do this, the project developers will teach the robot to find a power source in a building and to recharge itself.  The ​​developers concept will connect the robot to existing objects in the building (doors, signs, directories, etc.) so it can perform logistical and other tasks and, when necessary, find and use recharging stations.  In addition, the robot will be guided by ultrasonic sensors, encoders (angle sensors), a gyrocompass and a magnetic compass.

The project developers noted that in some ways the robot will be like a pet that feeds itself

The range of applications for the AMI platform is extremely wide since a robot, like a human, can easily navigate and perform tasks in rooms that are not specially adapted for it. For example, to work as a mobile visitor’s guide, bring coffee, or throw away garbage. With the use of attachments, the robot will be able to automate storage operations, perform guard or housecleaning functions. 

Indoor-positioning technology that is currently being promoted involves the installation of numerous radio beacons in a building. These must be connected to the main electrical source or their power source needs to be changed. Thanks to the technology of image recognition, the robot will be able to navigate any room without the use of radio beacons and this will significantly decrease the cost.  In addition, the development of the platform will use inexpensive mass industrial components. "Due to the planned low cost of our AMI platform and its functionality in any building or indoor space, we expect a great deal of interest fr om industrial partners," said Alexei Okunev, Director HCI NSU.

The project team includes Andrey Vavilin, a leading specialist in machine vision and a graduate of Ulsan University (South Korea), Boris Kochetkov PhD, an WSR expert in mobile robotics and Head of the Automation Laboratory HCI NSU, Alexander Nazarov PhD,  a leading designer and Head of the Department of Natural Science Disciplines HCI NSU and Leonid Popov PhD Head of the Department of Informatics. College students will also play an active role in the development of the AMI platform.

"The autonomous mobile intelligence (AMI) project is extremely important and unifying for HCI wh ere both programming and robotics are taught," said Alexei Okunev. Work on the project is currently taking place and the first model for the robot with limited functionality is scheduled to begin testing in the fall of 2017. "The results will be used to train students within the framework of an existing course on the basics of robotics and a new course in machine vision," explained HCI’s Director.