Fraunhofer, a renowned German research organization, has been a pioneer of innovation in a wide range of scientific domains.

Within its extensive network of 76 institutes, the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB stands out for its groundbreaking work in autonomous mobile robotic systems.

This case study explores the collaboration between Fraunhofer IOSB and SBG Systems, focusing on the integration of our inertial sensors into autonomous construction vehicles.

Reshaping construction technology

Autonomous systems have become indispensable for tasks that are dangerous, difficult, or monotonous for humans.

Fraunhofer IOSB’s Autonomous Robotic Systems research group specializes in the development of autonomous construction vehicles, ranging from excavators for unstructured environments to Unimogs that pull a dump truck to remove the soil away from the construction site.

Autonomous vehicles must understand their environment and create a 3-D map to determine their location.

They use data from sensors to figure out how to move around in their environment.

A proud collaboration

To achieve true autonomy in construction vehicles, accurate and reliable sensors are crucial. These sensors must provide real-time data for environment perception, mapping, and navigation.

Fraunhofer IOSB needed a supplier that could deliver high-performance inertial sensors to enhance the capabilities of their autonomous construction vehicles.

We are proud to collaborate with the esteemed Fraunhofer Institute, renowned for its innovation. Fraunhofer IOSB has used several of our products on various platforms.

Implementation

One notable application involves the integration of our Ekinox inertial sensor into an autonomous excavator capable of removing soil.

Ekinox played a key role in capturing the vehicle’s motion and orientation data, enabling precise mapping of the environment in real time. This data, combined with advanced algorithms developed by Fraunhofer researchers, enabled precise perception, mapping, and navigation.

Results

  • Autonomous excavation/ Autonomous soil removal: The excavator equipped with SBG Systems’ Ekinox Micro achieved a high level of autonomy in soil removal tasks. The inertial sensor’s accuracy and reliability contributed to the vehicle’s ability to operate independently in unstructured environments.
  • Salvaging barrels: The autonomous excavator demonstrated versatility by extending its capabilities to salvage barrels. It was able to perform various tasks within its area of operation.
  • Unimog operations: Fraunhofer IOSB is currently in the process of converting the Unimog into a robot towing a dump trailer to transport soil away from the construction site. SBG Systems’ inertial sensors power the autonomy pipeline, expected to enhance the operation’s efficiency and safety.

In few words

Fraunhofer IOSB and SBG Systems’ partnership demonstrates how advanced sensor technology and innovative research can achieve significant advancements.

Integrating advanced IMUs to self-driving construction vehicles not only improves what machines can do today but also opens the door for exciting future changes in autonomous robotics.

Fraunhofer IOSB and SBG Systems collaborate to push the boundaries of autonomous technology.