Helping us to understand where a robot is located: The University of Klagenfurt is granted a patent for a new modular sensor fusion technology

Along with the inventors, Christian Brommer and Stephan Weiss, the dronehub in Klagenfurt has recently been granted another patent. Weiss and Brommer perform research in the Control of Networked Systems (CNS) group with a focus on how to improve localization and navigation methods for robots and small helicopters.

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New research project: Better eyes for robots and drones

Drones and robots struggle to navigate autonomously in the dark and in dusty settings. Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt are now developing a new technology that relies on radar sensors for navigation.

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Research team from the University of Klagenfurt tests Mars helicopter in the desert of Israel

The fact that the Mars helicopter “Ingenuity” is currently exploring the Red Planet is partly due to navigation technology co-developed by Stephan Weiss, Professor of Control of Networked Systems at the University of Klagenfurt. Three of his doctoral students are now scheduled to take part in the AMADEE-20 Mars mission simulation organised by the Austrian Space Forum (ÖWF) from 4 to 10 October 2021, where they will collect data in the Negev Desert in Israel in order to further refine the helicopter.

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New ERASMUS+ project INFRO@D is launched

International project application entitled “European Digital Education in Road Infrastructure Management INFRO@D”, submitted under the Strategic Partnerships of ERASMUS + program, was positively assessed and directed for funding. The leader of the international consortium is the Department of Road and Transport Engineering of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Gdańsk University of Technology. The project will be implemented together with European universities: Universita Degli Studi di Catania (Italy), Universitaet Klagenfurt (Austria), Zilinska Univerzita in Ziline (Slovakia), Szechenyi Istvan University (Hungary), Cracow University of Technology (Poland).

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a departure from the current ways of functioning of societies in many aspects related to the economy, travel, work and education. This also applies to higher education. The necessity of distance learning is one of the ways to maintain social distance and protect our life and health. The preliminary assessment of the situation at universities in Poland and other European countries shows that the academic staff is not sufficiently prepared to conduct attractive and effective classes conducted in a remote format. The necessity to conduct remote classes by universities, both during studies and training courses, requires the development of a dedicated didactic and training process, taking into account the specific requirements of interdisciplinary engineering knowledge. Transferring this knowledge in remote education, due to its large scope, requires the use of many didactic tools: lectures, fieldwork, design, exercise, laboratory, independent work of students along with the assessment of the progress and knowledge of students. As part of the INFRO@D Project, a model product dedicated to distance learning at technical universities in the field of civil engineering and transport will be developed. This product will include comprehensive and innovative solutions, enabling the implementation of distance learning at the highest level. The developed methodology and teaching materials will be based on the road infrastructure management course, with particular emphasis on the elements of road infrastructure safety management. The method of preparing the methodology and teaching and training materials will enable their implementation for any thematic scope in the area of ​​civil engineering and transport. The project provides for the construction of a digital education methodology in the field of teaching at universities and training for engineering staff. Preparation of a remote education course in road infrastructure safety management will enable the use and verification of the best solutions of teaching methodology in this mode from Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Italy. The INFRO@D project will raise the level of teaching and training, using innovative digital teaching materials for distance learning, which can be used by other universities dealing with this subject. The main goal of the INFRO@D project is to increase the competences and skills of distance learning in a model solution in the field of road infrastructure safety management. To achieve this goal, actions should be taken to promote the best solutions in the field of digital education (remote – carried out ad hoc during a pandemic and e-learning courses, which may become a permanent element of the didactic process in the future).

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Young drone researchers Agata and Michał Barcis from the University of Klagenfurt and fellow researcher Michał Jagielski win the Drone Bot Contest at Deep Drone Challenge 2021

Agata and Michał Barciś and their fellow researcher from RTB House in Poland, Michał Jagielski, competed in the Drone Bot Contest at the Deep Drone Challenge in Ingolstadt, Germany on Saturday 7 August 2021. The competition is organised by start-up incubator brigkAIR and Europe’s largest aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The three young scientists were delighted to receive a prize of 25,000 euros. 

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Robotics research in Klagenfurt enjoys international success: The Karl Popper Doktorats- und Wissenschaftskolleg for Networked Autonomous Aerial Vehicles concludes with a demonstration in south Klagenfurt

With a total of 9 contributions at this year’s ICRA, one of the flagship conferences in the field of robotics, the University of Klagenfurt has joined the league of the world’s most important robotics hubs. Among the contributors are the young researchers from the Karl Popper Doktorats- und Wissenschaftskolleg “Networked Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (NAV)”, which is currently celebrating its conclusion with a drone flight demonstration in Klagenfurt.

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Robots as surgical assistants

Today, robotic systems are little more than assistants used to hold and aim surgical tools. A research team led by Jan Steinbrener and Stephan Weiss at the University of Klagenfurt is looking to develop new technological options to support surgeons in their work.

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Getting drones to improve their self-awareness

Drones are increasingly being deployed as autonomous actors in uncontrolled environments. This requires reliable control and navigation. The research team at the University of Klagenfurt led by Stephan Weiss and Jan Steinbrener, which also includes doctoral student Christoph Böhm, is now working on improving the drone’s self-awareness so that it becomes better at adapting to changing conditions in the future.

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Robots set to learn how to provide better assistance during surgery

Minimally invasive surgery has many advantages for patients and surgical teams, such as shorter recovery times, lower post-operative complication rates, higher patient acceptance rates and increased cost efficiency. One key area here is interventional radiology, where external imaging equipment is used to guide the surgical instruments through the body. Robots can support in this task. However, those who believe that robots “operate” independently are (as yet) mistaken: The robot systems available today are pure tele-operators or mere assistants for holding and targeting tools; that’s all they can do. Now, a research project led by the University of Klagenfurt wants to explore additional advantages of “operating robots” and increase their autonomy when it comes to supporting surgeons. Read more

Helicopter flies to Mars: Researcher based in Klagenfurt provided the navigation technology

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on 30 July the new Mars Rover “Perseverance” will take off from Cape Canaveral, bound for Mars. Also on board is the first ever “Mars helicopter”, which will undertake exploratory flights. The helicopter is navigated using a technology that Stephan Weiss, Professor at the Department of Smart Systems Technologies, was instrumental in developing.  

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