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IAS-LAB ranks third at MBZIRC 2017




IAS-LAB of the University of Padua ranked third in The 2017 Grand Challenge of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotic Challenge (MBZIRC) with the unmanned mobile manipulator robot called RUR53. RUR53 is build on a custom modified version of the Summit-XL robot by Robotnik. Desert Lion, the team of IAS-LAB, participated in the Grand Challenge together with the Czech Technical University of Prague and the University of Pennsylvania.

RUR53 is able to navigate inside an outdoor arena; locate and reach a operation panel; locate and recognize a specific wrench; manipulate the wrench to physically operate a valve stem on the panel itself, both autonomously and in teleoperation mode.

MBZIRC, taking place in Abu Dhabi, is a biennal international robotics competition, which attracts the best international teams, by providing a demanding set of benchmark robotics challenges. It aims is to inspire the future of robotics through innovative solutions and technological excellence.

MBZIRC 2017 consist of three challenges and a triathlon type Grand Challenge. IAS-Lab is one of the 46 teams selected in 143 application received from 35 countries. IAS-Lab takes part in the Challenge 2 that requires an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with an onboard manipulator to operate a valve stem placed on a panel. To solve the task the robot must

identify the appropriate tool to use, pick it up, and manipulate it to rotate the valve stem one full circle.


More information can be found in the web site


winner challenge


Desert Lions Team includes:


Nicola Castaman, a Post-Master Fellow, who is working on motion planning among movable obstacles, and manipulation and grasping tasks;


Elisa Tosello, a Ph.D. Student, who is working on motion planning among movable obstacles, and manipulation and grasping tasks;


Morris Antonello, a Ph.D. Student, who is working on RGB-D data processing;


Marco Carraro, a Ph.D. Student, who is working on localization and mapping for the movable platform;

Roberto Bortoletto. Post-doctoral Research Fellow. His research interests include neuromuscular human-machine interfaces, brain machine interfaces, computational intelligence and machine learning.

Role: Navigation, modeling and simulation.


Matteo Munaro. Post-doctoral Research Fellow. His research interests focus on people detection, RGB-D sensors and features, human action recognition, 3D reconstruction for quality inspection.
Role: Team coordination and robot vision.


Stefano Ghidoni. Assistant Professor. His main research interests are on deep learning and cooperative sensors, body pose estimation and people re-identi cation systems in camera networks.
Role: Image processing and visual servoing.


Emanuele Menegatti. Associate Professor. His research interests are in the eld of omnidirectional and distributed vision systems, industrial robot vision, and RGB-D vision algorithms for mobile robots.
Role: 2D and 3D robot perception.


Enrico Pagello. Full Professor. His research interests include the application of Arti cial Intelligent to robotics with regard to multi-robot systems, cognitive robotics, motion planning and robot programming languages.
Role: Principal Investigator.


To enhance the educational process of our School of Engineering, we have included also the following people to collaborate to the team activities of the MZBIRC Project:

Enrica Rossi, a Post-Master Fellow, who is focusing on investigating hybrid control law for under-actuated robotic platforms;
Nicola Bagarello and Silvia Gandin, Master Students, who are working on the panel inspection, wrench recognition and grasping tasks in fulfilment of the requirements for their Master theses;
Matteo TessarottoAlex BadanLeonardo PellegrinaRiccardo Fantinel, and Luca Benvegn├╣, all Master Students, who are addressing some of the tasks required to control the robot, as part of the Autonomous Robotics master course.





We will take part to the Challenge 2 in fully autonomous mode (i.e., no human supervision). Our approach aims to effectively combine 2D and 3D perception.

From an operative point of view, the work has been splitted into six Work Packages (WPs), as follows:

  1. WP-1: Robot building, calibration and modeling
  2. WP-2: Panel localization within the arena
  3. WP-3: Valve stem localization and measuring
  4. WP-4: Selection of the right tool
  5. WP-5: Tool grasping
  6. WP-6: Valve manipulation


We will use an outdoor mobile robotic platform (Fig. 1) composed of a mobile robot Summit XL HL (Robotnik Automation S.L.L ( The mobile base has been modified in order to install, on its top, a Universal Robot UR5 manipulator arm (Universal Robots A/S (, equipped with a Robotiq Adaptive Gripper with 3 fingers (Robotiq (



All the aforementioned hardware is fully compatible with the Robot Operating System (ROS ( open-source middleware.

Furthermore, we have developed a simulation of the Challenge 2 within the Virtual Robot Experimental Platform (V-REP) simulator (Coppelia Robotics (

All the code has been implemented in C++. The Git repository, with which we are managing and sharing the code among the team members, is currently maintained in Bitbucket.





We wish to thanks the companies which are supporting our team with donations of their high performance equipments:
- NVidia for Jetson TX1 (
- SICK for the laser range finders (



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