Leibniz Universität Hannover
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- Offer Profile
- Engineering (ISE) deals with
the modelling, simulation, analysis and realisation of hardware and software
architectures of complex and technical systems.
The Real Time Systems Group (RTS) is part of the Institute for Systems
Engineering. Head of the RTS is Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernardo Wagner. RTS
cooperates with the Mechatronic Center (Mechatronik Zentrum Hannover - MZH)
of the Leibniz Universität Hannover in joint researches, projects and
through technology exchange.
Research at RTS
- The working focus of the Real Time Systems Group lies
on the areas planning of complex technical systems, modelling and analysis
of event-discrete systems with formal methods, software development methods
and devices in the automation technology as well as in the programming and
testing of embedded, networked control devices under the aspect of real
time, reliability and security.
The concerned applications range from systems automation with industrial,
stored-program controls to event-discrete (reactive) control of autonomous,
mobile robots with embedded microcontrols and real time operating systems.
Currently, the projects of the RTS can be assigned to three different areas:
- Localisation and Navigation of Autonomous Service Robots
- Distributed Real Time / Automation Systems
- Educational Technology in Automation Technology and Robotics
In the fields of teaching, especially in the fields of development and
introduction of new teaching and learning technologies, the RTS works
closely together with the Center for Didactics of Technology (Zentrum für
Didaktik der Technik - ZDT) and the Research Center L3S (Learning Lab Lower
The RTS focuses its work on the fields of distributed automation systems and
mobile service robots. Such systems have to interact with real surroundings
in a correct, reliable and secure way and furthermore with deterministic
time response, that is in real time.
Examples for the research fields at the RTS are event-discrete modelling,
real time programming of embedded controlling devices, networked industrial
automation systems, remote handling and control of technical facilities and
measuring devices over large distances or real time compatible operating
Distributed Real Time / Automation Systems
Security within Networked Controls
Imagine a networked washing
machine being maintained online by an unauthorized person instead of a
service personnel. This can have unpleasant consequences. But, then, what
happens when complete production lines are connected to the internet for
remote diagnosis purposes? There are new concepts which shall cope with this
difficulty. They improve the protection of automation systems from misuse
and exploration, however, without neglecting the real time compatibility and
economic handling of hardware resources.
Real Time Linux: Xenomai
The Linux real time extension
Xenomai is more and more used as a basis for research and development at the RTS. If possible the further development of this open source project is
actively supported. Thus, in the course of studies, the RTnet project
evolved. Its goal is to use standard ethernet for communication under hard
realtime circumstances. The development team has quickly grown by numerous
volunteers from different countries after the publication, so that the
project undergoes a highly dynamic progress. The open architecture of RTnet
offers a potential for a diversity of fields, starting with the mobile
robots of the institute to industrial installations. In the future, the RTS
will keep on being actively involved in the coordination and further
development of RTnet.
Java in Automation Technology
Automation technology demands a
lot more of the software development than desktop applications. This
traditionally concerns the long life cycles of software for control
purposes, the integration of substantial periphery and the demand of
reliability and real time. The growing network requires special care
concerning the access security.
Java opens up a high potential of reusability and compatibility of existing
software components through its comprehensive platform concept and its
strict object orientation of language. The real time specification for Java
(RTSJ) is the precursor for the application of Java under real time
conditions, which has been until now only subject to special solutions. The
research focuses on the generalisation of these special solutions.
CNet / PNet - Planning of Distributed Control Systems
How can distributed control
systems be understood and correctly modelled? And how do you get the
distributed control program from the model? CNet / PNet follows the solution
of these tasks with a mostly graphic model. Hierarchical structures and
distributions are described through the component model CNet. It has
similarities with the functional modules of IEC 61131-3 and IEC 61499.
The components are put together for the models of control as well as the
distance. The behaviour of the components is modeled through Petri nets (PNet).
PNet uses a time rating and can describe temporal deterministic systems. The
results are feasible and formal models which allow simulation and analysis.
The distributed control system can automatically be generated out of the
control model. The programming language and the internet technologies are
fallen back on for implementation.
Localisation and Navigation of Autonomous Service Robots
Service robots autonomously cut the lawn and weed in large parkways or
sports sites. Tourists are comfortably driven to places of interest or from
one place to the other on large fairgrounds. Handicapped and elderly people
are supported with their everyday problems. Examples like these are numerous
where a service robot is a possibility to support the human being. To solve
these tasks efficiently, the robot has to know at any time where it is
situated. It is therefore searching for the answer to the question: "Where
Navigation in Outdoor Areas (Field Robotics)
To find an answer to this question, the RTS works on a development of a new
navigation method of autonomous systems. A special focus is set on the
navigation in unknown and natural environment here. In opposition to indoor
navigation, where the environment is structured through straight walls,
doors and even floors, the obstacles and objects in outdoor areas are much
more complex. The form and surface of the objects (trees, bushes, houses,
etc.) is irregular and changeable during the time. Influences such as wind
are difficult to be described by discrete mathematical models. However, with
the consolidation of different sensors such as GPS, compass, laser scanner,
wheel sensors and inertial circles, the RTS is capable of generating
independent surrounding models of the working space. With the help of these
maps, a localisation is possible to the accuracy of a few centimeters.
Nevertheless, the adaptability of this method is restricted to plane working
spaces where there are sufficient natural landmarks. In order to make
navigation possible in hilly regions where there are no definite obstacles
it is necessary to collect 3D data.
3D Perception and Navigation
This project aims at the abstraction of the large data amounts during the
gathering of three-dimensional data, so that the robot can accomplish a 3D
localisation in real time during its journey. Mathematical algorithms as
well as the sensor technology have to be developed by the RTS as there are
no commercial products for these kinds of requirements yet.
Robot Platforms at the RTS: ANNICA - Autonomous
intelligent vehicle for Navigation
Annica is the smallest autonomous
system that exists at the RTS. The drive results from two independently
controllable wheels. A third supporting wheel gives the system the necessary
stability. In addition, there are wheel coders attached to each axis with
which the covered distance can be measured. The applications are programmed
in C and are uploaded via a serial interface on the micro controller
MC68HC11 by Motorola. As an additional sensor, Annica contains an infrared
distance sensor, a bumper, photographic resistances and a microphone.
Robot Platforms at the RTS: BRITTA - Scrabbling Robot
for Applications in Trained Ambit
Britta is an autonomous
scrabbling/crawling robot. The six independently moveable legs are
controlled by twelve servo motors altogether. Each leg is steered by a motor
for back-and-forth movements and by a motor for up-and-down movements. The
heart of the system is a micro controller 68332 by Motorola. It processes
the applications which were developed in gnu-C beforehand. For the
navigation tasks, a customary web cam is attached. Furthermore, Britta is
equipped with an infra red distance sensor, a microphone and tactile sensors
at its legs.
Robot Platforms at the RTS: CARLA - Computer based Robot
for problems in navigation
Carla is the first robot that is
used especially for navigation tasks in the outdoor area. Equipped with a
standard GPS receiver, two correcting data receivers (DGPS), a 360° laser
scanner, an odometer and a radio LAN, this system shall be capable of
navigating in an unknown environment independently. Carla is driven be four
electric motors while two are attached to each other respectively. This
results in the same steering method as with chain vehicles so that even
turnaround manoeuvres are possible around its own axis. The data processing
is done by a low power pc with 233 MHz and a Linux operating system.
Robot Platforms at the RTS: DORA - Outdoor robot for
Dora fulfils navigation tasks in
outdoor areas as well. The specialty of this system is the possibility of
passenger transportation. At a maximum loading weight of 300 kg, Carla can
carry up to two persons next a range of sensors.
RTS-MoRob-Kit: experimental platform of the Institute
for Systems Engineering
MoRob-Kits (Modular Robotic Kit) have been developed based on the modular
robot systems deployed at the Institute for Systems Engineering. Those kits
make it possible to combine and easily connect varied software drivers and
application modules in order to configure, control and build a diversity of
different robot systems.
RTS-STILL Robotic Forklift: Kooperation Institut für
Systems Engineering - STILL GmbH
The RTS has - in cooperation with
the STILL GmbH, one of the leading manufacturer of forklifts and industrial
trucks - developed the prototype of a new and innovative autonomous
industrial transport system.
Educational Technology in Automation Technology and
- The introduction of new learning technologies, the
shift of communication from text and print media to online media and the
changing from linear representation methods to hypermedia and interactive
methods call for an adjusted schooling/education concept. It is a
precondition that scholastics build up on optimising and flexible qualities
to improve the position of universities and polytechnics in the 21st
century. In addition, consulting, services and research in the most
different fields are necessary.
The Real Time Systems Group works together with the Centre for Didactics of
Technology on international and nationwide project associations with the aim
to develop new learning technologies, new didactic-methodical teaching
concepts, media compatible teaching materials and their trials
MoRob - Modular Educational Robotic Toolbox
In recent years, autonomous
mobile robots have developed into a very popular topic with high visibility
in media like television, newspapers and the internet. Their use in
research, entertainment and industrial applications is constantly rising.
Going along with this development is an increasing number of robotics
courses offered at universities, as well as dissertation projects in this
To accomplish such courses and projects, the universities need robot
platforms which are flexible and modular so that they can easily be
customized to the requirements of different subjects and research goals. The
aim of the MoRob project is to develop such a platform and to provide a
standard set of control modules and teaching units.
This platform will have the following characteristics:
Modular setup to facilitate tailoring to courses in the different
The new system will not only allow for easy construction of robot systems
and their use in robotics courses, it will also be applicable as a vehicle
for experimentation in courses on other subjects like programming, signal
processing, control theory and artificial intelligence. Therefore a
standardized teaching environment will emerge which will be easy to use in a
variety of applications.
The project takes place in collaboration with the KTH Stockholm and Stanford
Internet-assisted Laboratories (I-Labs)
The realisation of theoretical knowledge into application sceneries is
usually practised in experiment laboratories in small teams in scholastic
teaching. Through concrete tasks, the students get to know the handling and
possible application of each field's typical equipment and facilities. In a
joint WGLN-project with Stanford University (Prof. Bert Hesselink) and the
Royal Institut of Technology Stockholm (Prof. Torsten Fransson), the
researchers work on the development and trial of a technology and didactic
of remote-controllable laboratory experiments that can be scaled on
different equipment dimensions via the internet.
The realisation of these laboratory experiments is carried out with real
time capable control methods and software components that have been
developed at the RTS.