Autonomous charging station prototype developed at Skoltech Robot Vision Summer School

For a month, under the mentorship of PhD student Aleksey Fedoseev, Associate Professor Dzmitry Tsetserukou from the Laboratory of Intelligent Space Robotics (Skoltech Engineering Center), and Stepan Burmistrov from the RobotX School of Robotics, students crafted a prototype of an autonomous charging station. Within this period, they devised an algorithm and a remote control interface for two UR3 collaborative manipulators with six degrees of mobility, using a remote server. They also designed a mobile platform, and learned to pinpoint the position of cubes with Aruco markers, which served as prototype batteries.

"The world is witnessing a significant surge in the development of electric cars, presenting a challenge to hasten and automate the charging process, – Dzmitry Tsetserukou commented on the project selection. –   We set a task for the Skoltech-RobotX Summer School participants to envision a futuristic charging station. In this envisioned scenario, an electric car enters a fueling station, and two autonomous robots with grippers replace its batteries. They leverage computer vision technology to precisely identify the car's and batteries' locations. Notably, compared to the previous year, a single team of high school students brought this grand concept to life. A pivotal innovation was the robot's remote operability, enabling students to test it from their schools or homes. In merely a month, these students have accomplished a project that would make any Russian university proud."

On the school's concluding demo day, each member talked about their role in the project. The event culminated with the demonstration of the autonomous charging station prototype for mobile robots. The refined algorithms can discern the movements of mobile robots and locate available battery stations, tweaking the algorithm for safe operations. Robot batteries were symbolized as cubes equipped with Aruco markers (visual markers similar to QR-codes) to ensure reliable detection.

 "The summer school students aren't your average learners; they're juniors from the international mobile robotics competition, Eurobot. These young minds already possess commendable hands-on robotics skills. The RobotX instructors are deeply involved in honing their programming abilities and acquainting them with computer vision libraries. Our educational program is designed to elevate their learning, offering insights into modern industrial and collaborative robots, challenges in industrial robotics, and software logic," Aleksey Fedoseev said.

Skoltech Robot Vision marked its second year as a robotics summer school for children. The previous year's participants fashioned and showcased a collaborative robot control system.