Weekly Robotics #69

Issue 69

1) Ignition Citadel Released.
INFO: A new version of Ignition, an open source simulator being developed by Open Robotics, has been released. It looks like the software stack is maturing and will at some point take over Gazebo that will reach end of life in 2025.

2) ROSCon 2019 Videos.
INFO: ROSCon Videos and slides are now published. If there are any talks that you particularly liked then please let me know, I’m yet to watch some of them.

3) AlphaPilot — Lockheed Martin AI Drone Racing Innovation Challenge.
Lockheed Martin
INFO: MAVLab, a TU Delft laboratory, had won the AI Drone Racing Innovation Challenge. In the challenge the teams were developing AI that could fly DRL RacerAI drones. MAVLab team managed to complete the full circuit in 12 seconds, 3 seconds faster than the UZH Robotics & Perception team and 6 seconds slower than DRL Pilot Gabriel “Gab707” Kocher. I was only able to find this one video from the event.

4) Finland to Invest in the Future Skills of Europeans – Training One percent of EU Citizens in the Basics of AI.
INFO: In 2020 Finland will provide European Citizens free access to the Elements of AI, an online course on AI. Finland plans to offer the course in all European languages and have an ambitious goal to educate 1% of EU citizens in the basics of AI. Thanks Finland!

5) Café X Opens Robot Coffee Bar at San Jose Airport .
Robotics Business Review
INFO: If you’d like to try a coffee served by an industrial robot arm then soon you might have a chance to try it in San Jose Airport. Hope these robots come with small-talk functionality enabled by default!

6) ESA Commissions World’s First Space Debris Removal.
INFO: Clean Space initiative is kicking off, with the ClearSpace-1 planned launch in 2025. “The ClearSpace-1 mission will target the Vespa (Vega Secondary Payload Adapter) upper stage left in an approximately 800 km by 660 km altitude orbit after the second flight of ESA’s Vega launcher back in 2013. With a mass of 100 kg, the Vespa is close in size to a small satellite, while its relatively simple shape and sturdy construction make it a suitable first goal, before progressing to larger, more challenging captures by follow-up missions – eventually including multi-object capture”. The ‘chaser’ vehicle will grab the second stage using a quartet of robotics arms and then slow it down, so that both spacecrafts burn in atmosphere. For some more information about space cleaning initiatives you can see issue #4 and issue #21.

7) Publication of the Week - KRAKsat Satellite Mission - Lessons Learned (2019).
INFO: KRAKsat nanosatellite project aim was to test Ferrofluid Reaction Wheel as an orientation and rotation control system. The mission started on the 3rd of July 2019 and this report contains lessons learned during the mission. I like how honest is this report about all the issues encountered by the team that lead to project failure. We all need to start somewhere!


1) Tractonomy Robotics (Kortrijk, Belgium) - Robotics Engineer.
INFO: We are building the next generation of cost-effective, cooperative mobile manipulation robots for intra-logistics applications. Our aim is to build and extend our core platform, the Omnit to enable high-throughput object picking and transport for manufacturing tasks.

2) Han’s Robot Germany GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) - Computer Vision Engineer.
INFO: We are a young robotics company which is poised to redefine the state of the art for collaborative robots via innovations in the field of mechanics, environment perception, human machine interaction, control and artificial intelligence.