Aerial and ground robotics: sant’anna school research team from the biorobotics institute selected to take part in the MBZIRC final challenge AT KHALIFA UNIVERSITY

Researchers from the Biorobotics Institute of Sant’Anna School have been selected to take part in the MBZIRC Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge at Khalifa University - Abu Dhabi on February 23-25, 2020. MBZIRC is a biennial international robotics competition open to best research teams from all countries. The MBZIRC 2020 is split into three challenges that show innovation in autonomous aerial and ground robots performing navigation and manipulation tasks in outdoor and indoor environments.

The Biorobotics Institute research team is coordinated by Stefano Roccella and is composed of 13 people including students Michele BersaniAlfredo BochicchioAndrea Boscolo CamilettoLuca CuoghiLorenzo FerriniLeonardo LaiEmanuele Pallaoro, post-doctoral researchers Sirena CascaranoAndrea Vannini and Andrea Spezzaneve, engineer Roberto Lazzarini, and pilot Claudio Lattanzi from the Fondazione Toscana Gabriele Monasterio.

In challenge no. 1, AI-powered drones are required to interact with objects and fly safely to a target zone using AI algorithms for target detection and tracking from aerial imagery. The embedded hardware system empowers the flying robots to carry out real-time onboard computation for tracking moving objects and to fly in air currents, just like a real bird. Techniques developed by the team of researchers at Sant’Anna rely on accurate sensors and cooperation with professional pilots.

“This highly competitive innovation challenge opens new opportunities to innovative Unmanned Aerial Vehicles design, navigation and control. The competition will promote exchanges among researchers to advance the field of aerial robotics,” said Stefano Roccella.

“I will keep my fingers crossed and I wish the Roccella’s team the best of luck. The MBZIRC recognizes students that demonstrate outstanding innovation and talent. Our engineering team proved to have the skills expected from a MBZIRC winner,” said Christian Cipriani, director of the Biorobotics Institute.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “Building on the success of the inaugural edition of MBZIRC 2017, the second edition will bring a total of 30 teams to the UAE to display their advanced innovations in some key robotics technologies. These finalists represent top internationally-renowned academic and research institutions with well-established robotics labs and we believe MBZIRC 2020 will showcase the creative best in robotics and stand testimony to its reputation as a leading global competition.”