Floor cleaning robot among winners of IERA Robot Award02 August 2018

(L-R) Dominik Boesl (IEEE RAS); Martijn Buijs (Lely International); Dr. Nicholas Wettels (Perception Robotics); Michael Otto (KUKA Deutschland); Clemens Duijnisveld (Lely International); Frank Steeneveld (Lely International); Junji Tsuda (IFR)

A barn floor cleaning robot has been named among three winners at the 14th International IERA Award for Robotics and Automation.

The ‘Discovery 120 Collector’, from Lely International (The Netherlands), navigates a programmed route and is controlled on its way by built-in sensors.

The robot can vacuum on solid walkways, sprays water at the front and the back for dilution and cleaning, has the ability to drive to a dumping location once full and empty, and can then refill its water bags and charge.

Lely launched the Discovery 2017 in several European countries, as well as the USA, and plans to launch in additional countries in the future.

The IERA Award highlights and honours the achievements of innovators with value creating ideas and entrepreneurs who propel those ideas into world-class products.

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE/RAS) and the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) jointly sponsor the award - underlining their determination to promote stronger collaboration between science and industry in robotics.

The other two winners of the IERA Award 2018 are Perception Robotics (USA) with the ‘Industrial Self-Cleaning Gecko Gripper’ and KUKA Deutschland with ‘LBR Med’.

The technology used in the Gecko Gripper, from Perception Robotics, is based on the model of the gecko, which can climb on smooth surfaces.

Based on the work of NASA (JPL) and Stanford University, Perception Robotics has developed a gripping solution for the manufacturing industry using this natural model in collaboration with NASA-JPL. In contact with smooth and rough materials, millions of tiny stalks on the robot arm produce a highly adhesive effect, with which, for example, sheet metal or glass pieces can be moved.

Meanwhile, the LBR Med Robot Assistant from Kuka Deutschland supports a variety of tasks in medical research and practice and works in close proximity to humans.

In laboratories, clinics or operating theatres, the lightweight robot takes over various tasks depending on the tool and program - for example, during medical interventions, treatments or scientific test procedures. The LBR Med has seven axes and particularly sensitive sensors that are suitable for human robot collaboration.

Says IFR president Junji Tsuda: “The close cooperation between research and industry is very important for the robotics industry. Based on modern scientific research, world-class products are being developed - this has been demonstrated by all three winners.”

Adds Dominik Bösl of IEEE-RAS: "This year a number of excellent applications competed for the IERA Award. Our winners in 2018 offer excellent technological innovations in various industries. Therefore, this year the jury decided to award first place to three winners."

Adam Offord

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