The best developers and young researchers from around the world test their mettle in robot competitions. As a project partner and sponsor, KUKA is involved with a number of these competitions. Our objective: to drive innovation, encourage technology transfer – and, of course, discover talent.
The KUKA Innovation Award
KUKA launched its own scientific competition in 2014. It is aimed at the wider robotics community and is open to developers, graduates and research teams from companies or universities. The winners receive a monetary prize of 20,000 euro.
For the Innovation Award, participants develop ideas for a task assigned by KUKA. The best teams implement their projects using KUKA hardware and present the results to wide-ranging specialist audiences at major trade fairs such as Hannover Messe.
Through the research prize, KUKA encourages technology transfer from research to industry and supports innovative developments in the area of robot-based automation.
EuRoC: the European Robotics Challenges
A heavyweight among robotics contests is the European Robotics Challenge program. The participants have a total of four years to successfully meet three major industrial challenges. The European program was launched in 2014.
The teams participate in the categories “Hyperflexible Working Cell”, “Shop Floor Logistics and Manipulation” and “Plant Inspection and Servicing”. The participants receive access to the latest hardware and contact with real users. After qualifying, they must test their developments under lab conditions and then with the users themselves.
Along with partners such as the German Aerospace Center, the Fraunhofer Institute or the University of Naples, KUKA actively supports the European Robotics Challenges as a project partner. The goal of the European Robotics Challenges is to encourage innovation and strengthen the pioneering role of the European industry.
Every year, teams from all over the world pit their mobile robots against each other at the RoboCup. In events such as the robot soccer tournament, researchers, scientists and amateur tinkerers put their skills to the test; in the RoboCup@Work league, teams tackle challenges in industrial settings.
With the KUKA youBot, used specifically in research, teams must complete complex tasks based on concepts for the factory of the future in which robots and human operators collaborate. By the way, the youBot is a mobile, omnidirectional platform on which a robot arm with a gripper is mounted.
RoboCup@Work focuses primarily on the requirements of small companies, which require more flexible and more customized processes. The solutions developed during the competition are intended to help open new fields of application in the areas of Industrie 4.0 and human-robot collaboration – from parts handling to logistics services.
European Robotics League
At the beginning of July 2016, SPARC launched the European Robotics League at the RoboCup in Leipzig. SPARC is a public-private partnership between the European Commission and industry.
In the European Robotics League, international teams go head-to-head in the areas of industrial, emergency and service robotics. Local matches and large tournaments take place all over Europe. Each team can participate in two competitions per year. The points are totaled at the conclusion of the year of competition and used to rank each team in the league. The best teams are honored at the annual European Robotics Forum.