Robotic ABC


Autonomous robot

Autonomous robots are robots that can move and act on their own. There are currently different gradations of autonomy. Robots are called semi-autonomous when the human assigns a partial task to the robot, e.g. "Go to the point 10 metres in front of you". The robot then uses its sensors to perceive the environment, plan a path and drive to the destination point. In fully autonomous systems, human intervention is no longer necessary. For example, in a fully autonomous exploration of a building, the robot plans all its paths independently, travels along them and reacts to unforeseen events.


Ground robot (ger. Bodenroboter)

We are all familiar with floor robots - whether in the house as a hoover robot or in the garden as a mowing robot. In the rescue sector, ground robots could make the work of emergency services easier and safer. For example, robots must be able to move on uneven floors and climb stairs. Other important but also complex aspects are payloads, communication and autonomy functions. New developments are being researched in our network. The dissemination of market-ready ground robots is our goal!


Capek Karel​

Mr Karel Capek was a Czech writer, translator, journalist and photographer. He is internationally known for his works in science fiction. The international term robot comes from his brother Josef Capek. However, it was his brother Karel Capek who made the term popular. The term first appeared in his 1920 drama R.U.R. (Rossums Universial Robots). It is about a company called R.U.R. that produces artificial humans. The robots are used as cheap and lawless workers. The use of them changes the world economy and as the drama progresses, the robots rebel against humanity and destroy it. Karel Capek died in Prague in 1938.


DRZ e.V.


The "German Rescue Robotics Centre e.V." (DRZ e.V.) was founded in 2018 by the joint project partners and pursues the purpose of promoting the development of robotic systems to assist in the rescue and protection of people and property. The focus is on research and development in the field of rescue robotics, vocational training in this field, rescue from life-threatening situations, fire protection, occupational safety, civil protection and accident prevention. The association also promotes the networking of emergency services, users, companies and research institutions active in these fields and is open to them for membership.


Earthquake and risk of collapse


In 2016, there was a severe earthquake in Italy. In order to be able to plan the operation and support the emergency forces on site, 140 gigabytes of image and sensor data were processed into 3D models with the help of three flying robots and two ground robots. Frauenhofer IAIS provided helpful interior images with the robots of the church of San Francesco Basilica and Sant'Agostino, which were threatened by collapse. Robots were also used in the 2009 collapse of the Cologne City Archive for site reconnaissance and the search for missing persons. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Hartmut Surmann, experts from the USA and Japan used special robots to search for the missing in the rubble. These missions show that in the future, rescue robots can be used efficiently to support emergency forces.


Fire brigade


In Germany alone, there are about 23,700 fire brigades. A distinction is made between professional, plant and volunteer fire brigades together with the youth fire brigade. In Germany, there are 1.1 million active firefighters, 200,000 members in the old-age and honorary departments and 250,000 members in the youth fire brigade. Around 95% of fire brigades are organised on a voluntary basis. Cities and municipalities are responsible for fire brigades. In order to help and protect the emergency services in difficult situations, fire brigades are already relying on the help of robotics. Drones are a popular technology because they are cheaper and easy to operate. Larger plant fire brigades in Germany already have ground robots in use. However, these are more expensive and not easy to operate.


Dangerous goods and hazardous situation (ger. Gefahrengut und Gefahrensituation)


Everyone has probably experienced, read about or heard about a dangerous situation. Examples are a house fire, a car accident or a medical emergency. For rescue workers, hazardous situations are part of their everyday work. If, for example, a hazardous goods transporter has an accident, rescue workers have to assess the situation within a very short time in order to initiate measures and make decisions. In the case of a large-scale fire, situational awareness is an important basis for protecting rescue workers from possible dangers. Rescue robots can provide efficient support in these exemplarily outlined hazardous situations. For example, they can recognise the hazardous material of the transporter or create a situation picture in the event of a fire. The German Rescue Robotics Centre promotes the development of robot systems and thus supports the rescue and protection of human life and property.


Humanoid robots


Humanoid robots are human-like robots. They look like humans and can partly interact like them. These kinds of robots are not new. Humanoid robots have already become "stars" in films like Star Wars. Who doesn't know C3PO? Meanwhile, there are already purchasable humanoid robots, such as the robot Pepper, which receives, informs and entertains customers. Humanoid robots are also already providing support in care. They bring food, operate the TV, recognise if someone has fallen and are thus an important helper in the everyday life of the elderly and, of course, the nursing staff. We are excited about what the future has in store in terms of robot technology. Maybe soon we won't have to clean or cook anymore!




INTERSCHUTZ is the world's leading trade fair for fire brigades, rescue services, civil protection and safety, which only takes place every 5 years. This year it's that time again. From 15.06. - 20.06.2020, everything that has rank and name in the industry will meet. Around 157,000 visitors and over 1,500 exhibitors from 50 nations are expected. INTERSCHUTZ will showcase products and services such as equipment for technical assistance and disaster control, fire station equipment, fire protection, extinguishing technology, vehicles and vehicle equipment, information and organisation technology, medical equipment, medical supplies or control centre technology and personal protective equipment. The German Rescue Robotics Centre will also be at INTERSCHUTZ this year. Our robots will be shown in action and there will be lots of interesting information about the development of the centre of excellence. Visit us in Hall 17, Stand E05.


Japan Robot Association


The Japan Robot Association (JARA) is a major robotics industry association based in Tokyo, Japan. The association was founded in 1971. The activities of JARA are diverse in nature. On the one hand, it develops and defines principles and visions for the robotics industry, as well as standardisation measures in the robotics sector. On the other hand, it also promotes the robot-producing industry and conducts market research.


Artificial intelligence (ger. Künstliche Intelligenz)


Artificial intelligence (AI for short) is a branch of computer science. It deals with the automation of tasks or decisions. Today, AI is often implemented through machine learning; in general, the term AI also includes other methods for developing algorithms. It attempts to artificially reproduce certain structures of human decisions. A distinction is made between strong AI and weak AI. Strong AI supports humans in difficult tasks. Weak AI is about working on concrete application problems and tasks. In rescue robotics, AI is used in many ways, e.g. in robot navigation and path planning, image processing, manipulation control, support in teamwork through speech processing and process assistance.


Living Lab


The Living Lab is an important part of our competence centre in Dortmund. It offers users, research and industry the opportunity to test the developed technology in various test scenarios. For example, the rescue robots can be tested under real operating conditions and continuously developed further. An indoor and outdoor area is being planned. In addition, our partners offer a hot building (fire house) and a climate chamber for testing purposes. In addition, the DRZ offers comprehensive advice on the design of the experimental and test scenarios as well as the construction and design of the individual scenarios. You can find more information at


Mobile robots


Mobile robots are robots that can move and act autonomously in their environment. Mobile robots can move with the help of wheels, chains or legs. Robots with wheels are well suited for flat surfaces, such as a road. Robots with chains are suitable for uneven surfaces such as stones, sand or loose earth. They are also able to negotiate stairs. Robots with legs can overcome large obstacles. However, each leg must be equipped with a motor and the complex coordination of all parts is much more research-intensive.


Nuclear disaster


On 11 March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred after the Tohoku earthquake. A core meltdown occurred in reactor units 1 to 3 due to the failure of the cooling systems. Approximately 100,000 to 150,000 people had to leave the area temporarily or permanently. Eight years later - on 13 February 2019, a remote-controlled robot in reactor 2 touched deposits from the meltdown on the ground for the first time. The robot has a camera, LED lights, thermometers, a dsiometer and a swivelling head on which there are two gripper arms. The images can be used to plan the dismantling of the reactor.




The term odometry comes from the Greek and means "path measurement". It is the science of determining the position of a mobile system based on its drive system. For wheel-driven systems (e.g. cars), this can be the wheel rotation, while for running systems (e.g. robots) it is the number of steps. These drive systems estimate the distance travelled or the current position. This estimate can be erroneous because, for example, wheel spin is not taken into account. For this reason, odometry is coupled with other methods to provide the most accurate estimate of the mobile system's position.




P for Practical - or also P for Pathfinding. Pathfinding is the search for the optimal path from a starting point to one or more target points and is therefore quite practical. Roborters are able to analyse their surroundings with the help of emitted sound and laser pulses. In this way, they can identify not only distances but also obstacles to avoid. The use of algorithms then enables the robots to determine the shortest and optimal route.




Questions please!!!! You have questions about rescue robotics??? Now is your chance!!! Ask us your questions!!!!


Rescue Robot Liga


ROBOTER ALS RETTER – und diese Retter findet man auf der Rescue Robot League. Die nächste Veranstaltung, die vom 24.04. – 26.04.2020 in Magdeburg stattfinden sollte, wird leider durch den Corona-Virus ebenfalls verschoben. Auf der Rescue Robot League dreht sich alles um Roboter und ihre Funktion, Menschenleben zu retten. Hierzu kommen internationale Forscherteams aus allen Teilen der Erde zusammen, um in nachgestellten Katastrophenszenarien in Wettkämpfen gegeneinander anzutreten und ihre Roboter bei dieser Aufgabe, die Opfer bestmöglich aus ihrer Notfallsituation zu retten, unter Beweis zu stellen. Spannend: Mit verschiedenen Mitteln versucht man, die Situation so realistisch wie möglich erscheinen zu lassen. Die Puppen, die die Opfer darstellen sollen, können sprechen, sich bewegen, durch den Einsatz von Kohlendioxid sogar atmen und werden zuvor auf Heizdecken gelegt, um die Körperwärme zu simulieren. Ein Besuch ist in jedem Fall lohnenswert! Mehr Infos zur Rescue Robot League findet Ihr auf der entsprechenden Website.




Robots are also sensitive - and sensors make them sensitive - because sensors can detect the states of the robot, such as the position, speed, forces as well as the states of the handling objects and the environment. In addition, sensors can measure physical quantities, identify and determine workpieces and interactions, and analyse the situation and scenes of the environment. There are three types of sensors: Internal, external and surface sensors. Internal sensors measure the robot's state variables, such as position and orinetation, battery level or temperature. Internal sensors are, for example, position sensors or compasses. External sensors detect properties of the environment such as light, heat, sound, distance or contours of objects. External sensors are e.g. light sensors, heat sensors, distance sensors or cameras. Surface sensors are tactile sensors that, as the name suggests, can feel and grip objects.




Telefon, Television oder Telepathie. Der Begriff „Tele“ impliziert eigentlich immer etwas wie fern, weit oder aus der Ferne. Teleoperation meint dementsprechend nicht das Sehen oder „Fonieren“ aus der Ferne, sondern das Operieren und heißt so viel wie „Arbeit auf Distanz“. Bei einem Teleoperator handelt es sich um ein technisches Gerät, das von einem menschlichen Leitstand „fern“ gesteuert wird. Die Teleoperation ist demnach nichts anderes als das Fernsteuern eines Roboters. Der Benutzer kann den Roboter somit aktiv steuern, seine Handlungen bestimmen und in diese eingreifen. Ist das Gerät zu autonomer Arbeit fähig, wird es Teleroboter genannt. Arbeitet es komplett, vollständig und immer autonom, so handelt es sich um einen Roboter. Anwedungsbereiche für Teleoperatoren finden sich beispielsweise in der Medizin bei Operationen an nicht leicht erreichbaren Bereichen des Körpers, im Militär, wenn es darum geht, Drohnen zu Aufklärungs- oder Überwachungszwecken zu nutzen oder auch in Autowerken.


Underwater rescue


Actually more like AUV- Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, the V here stands for Vehicle. Every year, about 37,000 people drown in Europe...just terrible!!!...and that's no coincidence: in Germany alone, there is a shortage of 2,500 lifeguards. There is definitely a need for action here. For this reason, the German Red Cross developed the Robo-Ray: a box weighing about 50 kg, equipped with electric motors, propellers & sonar, which waits for its deployment in indoor swimming pools in its underwater garage. The start signal is given to the fish-like robot by cameras mounted on the ceiling of the hall that scan the pool. As soon as there are any conspicuous features such as motionless people, the robot receives a signal and drives out of its charging station to rescue them. At 7 km/h, it makes its way to the emergency person, fixes them with gripper arms at the waist and then drags them to the edge of the pool for further medical care. The whole process must not take more than 4 minutes, otherwise the lack of oxygen will result in a life-threatening condition. Due to the lack of GPS signal under water, the control of the pace, position and distances is done via sensors.


VDI 6222 – Bionik


According to the guidelines of the Association of German Engineers (VDI), six fields of application of bionics can be summarised. While the superordinate guideline, VDI 6220, describes the basics of bionics, VDI 6222 refers to the application field of robotics. First of all, however, we must clarify what bionics actually is: bionics is an artificial word made up of the words biology and technology. Behind it is the idea of abstracting known facts from biology in order to use them to answer technical questions; a transfer of knowledge from nature to technology, so to speak. VDI 6222 is a guideline whose aim is to provide natural scientists and engineers with guidance for a bionic approach as an additional solution approach in the development of robots. This guideline includes both the strengths and some limitations of bionic robotics. Overall, however, bionics can help optimise a variety of components of a robot. It was hypothesised that simply improving the functioning of the weakest links in the chain of sensors, software, electronics and actuators will add quality to the overall system.




As we have noticed in recent years, the summers are getting drier and drier and there are sometimes almost #heat periods. The #forestfire risk is thus increasing. In Europe alone, about 400 million hectares of forest go up in flames every year. Again and again we are confronted in the media with the consequences of drought and extreme forest fires. In order to prevent such catastrophes and barely containable flames that spread in no time and turn everything into ash and dust, the #UniversityMagdeburg has developed a #robocat that is supposed to nip the root of all evil right in the bud by monitoring large forest regions with the help of infrared and biosensors, detecting #fire sources, reporting them immediately and then fighting them. An insect actually served as the model for the #extinguishingbeetle. Similar to the centipede, OLE can curl up and retract its six legs in case of danger. Its heat-resistant armour made of a ceramic fibre composite can withstand temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees Celsius and protects the sensitive technology inside. Two mechanical feelers help it to move on uneven, difficult terrain and quickly reach the danger zone. Depending on the ground conditions, OLE can crawl between 10 and 20 kilometres per hour. OLE fights the fire with an #impulse extinguishing gun. OLE can locate a fire at a distance of one kilometre and thus hopefully be used in the #future to prevent such #disasters.


X and Y coordinates


X and Y coordinates are the basis for the robots: Different coordinate systems related to the robot are available for the programmer, which he can use to know the position and orientation of the TCP and to programme movements of the robot in a simplified way.



Y series


The robots of the Y series of the Kawasaki brand belong to the pick & place robots, the so-called industrial robots. The Y series belongs to the parallel type. Here, the movement axes are arranged in parallel, which means that the gripper platform is guided by three to six linear axes or articulated arms arranged in parallel, which are mounted in a fixed base. In this way, the masses to be moved are lower, the acceleration is significantly higher and, for this reason, the execution time is also reduced. In addition, the Y series is considered the industry leader due to its high quality and reliability.


Civil Protection


Yes, from A to Z. Everything has an end and now we have already reached the end of our alphabet...We hope that the alphabet has given you an insight into the rather central and much Z for satisfaction and a Z for summary about the world of robots. But before we end our alphabet, let's just state: Robots can make our everyday lives easier not only as hoovers or lawn mowers, but also help protect lives. Z for Civil Defence is intended to illustrate this once again, because robots are also used in civil defence and are called upon in situations where it is often far too dangerous for human emergency forces. For example, they are asked to assist in identifying and defusing explosive devices or finding people trapped in very confined spaces.