European Union contributing $87 million in European robotics projects

The EU, under Horizon 2020, the mechanism the European Commission is using to stimulate robotics-related research, has co-funded 17 new robotics-related projects.

By Frank Tobe, The Robot Report January 27, 2015

The European Union’s (EU) Horizon 2020 program is designed to stimulate robotics-related research. The program is focused on developing robotics projects for critical technologies for commercialized industrial and service robotics applications. A consortium of corporate and academic/research partners manage the projects (with one exception). Emphasis is placed on quick technology transfers and rapid commercialization which is why each project has at least one corporate partner.

A downside, however, is that European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker recently proposed shifting the overall Horizon 2020 program to reduce the research aspect and use the saved funds to pay for general economic stimulus. The results of his push are, at present, unknown.

Here are the 17 funded robotics-related projects that started in 2014 and are funded to 2018:

Aeroarms is developing an aerial robotic system with multiple arms and advanced manipulation capabilities for application in industrial inspection and maintenance. Their corporate partners are Elektra UAS, Alstom Inspection, and Sensima Inspection.

Aeroworks is developing an aerial robotic team to autonomously conduct infrastructure inspection and maintenance tasks, while also providing intuitive and user-friendly interfaces to human-operators (HMIs). Their corporate partners are Ascending Technologies, Skybotix, Alstom Inspection, and Skelleftea Kraft.

Comanoid investigates the deployment of robotic solutions in well-identified Airbus airliner assembly operations that are laborious or tedious for human workers and for when access is impossible for wheeled or rail-ported robotic platforms. Their corporate partners are European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS).

Centauro is developing a human-robot symbiotic system, where a human operator is tele-present with its whole body in a Centaur-like robot, which is capable of robust locomotion and dexterous manipulation in the rough terrains of various disaster situations. Their corporate partners are ProgenoX and Kermtechnische Hilfsdienst.

CogIMon (Cognitive Interactive in Motion) research aims at human-robot interaction with systemic integration of teams of humans and compliant robots.

EurEyeCase is used for large numbers of patients who suffer from various types of vitreo-retinal eye diseases and the majority of these intra−ocular interventions lie on or even beyond the boundaries of human skills in terms of manipulation and positioning precision. Hence the need for robotic technology to augment surgeons’ skills. Their corporate partners are Medical Robotic Technologies, ACMIT, Optomedical Technologies, and Medizinisches Laserzentrum Lubeck.

Flobot is developing a floor washing robot for professional users. The project integrates existing solutions to produce a professional floor washing robot for a wide area of industrial, civil and commercial premises. Their corporate partners are FIMAP, Robosoft Services, 7 Manutencoop Facility Management, and Groupe Services France.

Flourish is working to bridge the gap between the current and desired capabilities of agricultural robots by developing an adaptable robotic solution for precision farming. The system will be able to survey a field from the air, perform targeted intervention on the ground, and provide detailed information for decision support. Their corporate partners are Robert Bosch, and Agenzia Servizi Settore Agroalimentare delle Marche.

Retrainer will be used to tune and validate advanced robot-based technologies to facilitate recovery of arm and hand function in stroke survivors. This will allow the users to use their own arm and hand as much and as soon as possible after the trauma so to achieve the best outcomes in rehabilitation. Their corporate partners are Robert Bosch and Agenzia Servizi Settore Agroalimentare delle Marche.

RobDream is working to improve industrial mobile manipulators’ perception, navigation, manipulation and grasping capabilities by automatic optimization of parameters, strategies and selection of tools within a portfolio of key algorithms. Their corporate partners are KUKA and Convergent Information Technologies.

RoMaNS (Robotic Manipulation for Nuclear Sort and Segregation) project will solve an urgent market and societal need cleaning up the past half century of nuclear waste. Their corporate partners are the National Nuclear Lab.

SaraFun is a project that works to enable a non-expert user to train/integrate a new bi-manual assembly task on an ABB YuMi robot in less than a day. The robot will be equipped with sensory and cognitive abilities as well as reasoning abilities required to plan and execute any assembly task in a human like manner. Their corporate partner is ABB.

SecondHands is working on a robot assistant that is trained to understand maintenance tasks so that it can either pro-actively or as a result of prompting, offer assistance to maintenance technicians performing routine and preventative maintenance. Their corporate partner is OCADO Group.

Smokebot is a project to develop and equip mobile robots with novel environmental sensors for inspection of disaster sites with low visibility. Their corporate partner is 
Taurob GmbH.

SoMa is a plan to provide soft, uncertain interactions between robotic manipulation and the environment. Their corporate partners are OCADO Group and The Walt Disney Company.

Sweeper is using modules from the FP7 CROPS project. This new project is to detect, grasp and harvest sweet peppers under various growing situations. Their corporate partners are de Tuindershoek, Irmato Group.

WiMUST (Widely scalable Mobile Underwater Sonar Technology) is project to expand and improve the functionalities of current cooperative marine robotic systems, effectively enabling distributed acoustic array technologies for geophysical surveying with a view to exploration and geotechnical surveying for civil and commercial applications. Their corporate partners are Graal Tech, Evo Logics, CGG Veritas Services, Geo Marine Survey Systems, and GeoSurveys.

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. This article originally appeared here. Edited by Anisa Samarxhiu, digital project manager, CFE Media, 

Original content can be found at