The robots of tomorrow will duel in Piombino

Published on Thursday, 14 September 2017

Forces of the sky, land and sea. Don’t worry: it’s not an invasion. The robots and drones that will be competing at the ERL 2017, the international competition hosted from 15 to 23 September in Piombino, in the square in front of the former Torre del Sale power plant, are innovative technological resources for the future, ready to take action even in emergency situations.

For some time now, Enel has been looking with interest at this new field of development, to take a further step forward in terms of the efficiency and rapidity of response of its services, but also to bring the public, researchers and industries more easily together.

The competition in Piombino will see the participation of some of the most prestigious international research institutes, among which the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Florence and the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa: a whole team of robots has been built in Italy thanks to their work. Unlike the other teams participating in the competition, the Italian institutes will present robots that are capable of operating in all three areas of intervention: the Feel Hippo model of the University of Florence is equipped for aquatic operations, the Grifone drone, it is too built in Florence, for airborne operations, while the HuskyUGV vehicle of the Sant'Anna Institute of Pisa moves on land.

The short-term objective is to be able to coordinate the operations of different types of robots: drones, for example, can fly over large areas to look out for potential problems, supplying useful data to set in operation robots on land and in water. In this year’s edition, another goal is to measure for the first time the ability of robots to deliver first aid kits to possible survivors.

Born from the experience of the euRathlon 2015 Grand Challenge, the first competition in the world for multi-domain robotics held two years ago in Piombino, the ERL is organised by the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) in La Spezia. Through the Horizon2020 programme, it receives funds from the European Commission and offers advanced technological solutions.

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