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RAS research group conducts multidisciplinary research and development activities in the area of robotics and autonomous systems. Robotics and Autonomous Systems will be researched by the following focus groups:

Environment Perception Focus Group:

While we would like our machine to understand and be aware of its environment, in actuality, a modern machine or a robot is limited by the sensors we give it and the software we write for it. Sensing is not perceiving. Sensors are merely transducers that convert some physical phenomena into electrical signals that the microprocessor can read. Perception is much more than parameter estimation; it involves the interpretation of complex data. Perception is thinking about sensing.

RAS will carry out research and development activities in order to build machines capable of perceiving their surroundings. The main objective of this group is to push forward the boundaries of artificial vision research and explore its potential applications in mechatronic systems. These applications include, but are not limited to:

- Visual servoing of industrial robots
- Topological navigation of mobile robots
- Human-robot non-verbal interaction
- Indoor and outdoor video surveillance systems
- Inspection Systems
- Target tracking and vision-based inspection systems to name a few.

Research in machine vision aims at investigating both active as well as passive vision methodologies. Active vision depends mainly on using laser scanners to extract 3D information for a given environment while passive vision techniques acquire digital images through which 3D information can be extracted. In the later case, cameras are used to acquire images along with sensors to determine parameters. This particular point should be a collaborative area between both focus groups teams. That is because information inferred accurately by sensors can help researchers develop good vision systems. On the other hand, vision techniques can help researchers enhance the accuracy induced by sensors.

RAS's findings will have the potential to produce smart sensors that understand and analyze the nature of the monitored environment and act accordingly.


Service Robotics Focus Group:

Last decade has witnessed intense research activities in robotics that covered all aspects ranging from design, sensorial fusion, control, environment modeling and mapping, to navigation and locomotion novel designs. Nowadays, robots have started a new era and entered new fields of application, including reaching our homes in the form of assistants in particular tasks, such as vacuum cleaning, in-home healthcare, remote control of household appliance or even for the purpose of entertainment. These developments were achieved owing to the recent advances in other technologies such as sensors, actuators, materials, new communications and multimedia technologies.

The objective of the Service Robotics Focus Group is to conduct research towards the development and improvement of new generation service robots, and maintains cooperation with industry in projects of mutual interest and benefit. This group explores the field of service robotics for private and professional use focusing on the practical issues of personal assistive robots, cleaning robots, entertainment robots, aerial and ground robotics.

These practical issues include but are not limited to endowing robots with higher-level cognitive faculties, such as planning and natural language understanding, 3D mapping, motion planning in unknown environments, nonlinear tracking and control, robot learning and social interaction.


Industrial Automation Focus Group:

Today, the application of computer technology in automation is expanding faster than any other area. Networks of industrial computers connect individual manufacturing cells into flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), and FMSs are linked to form CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) systems spanning entire enterprises. CIM can be defined as a technology that combines the activities CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAP (Computer Aided Process Planning), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), CAQ (Computer Aided Quality Control) and PP&C (Production Planning and Control) in one system. The rapid advance of CIM systems during last decade has made it an exciting field to work in.

The industrial automation focus group aims at advancing the state-of-the-art in intelligent automated systems and industrial automation through the development of reliable solutions for real world problems.

Some of the research topics that will be addressed by this focus group include, but are not limited to:
- Industrial instrumentations
- Sensors and actuators
- Industrial control systems
- Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
- Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA)
- Industrial Communication Schemes
- Computer Integrated Manufacturing
- Flexible Manufacturing Systems


Cooperative Intelligent Systems Focus Group:
RAS researches and deploys computational intelligence mechanisms to mobile robotics and other autonomous intelligent control problems. RAS works on providing the needed artificial intelligence to robot so that they can operate as individuals and groups in real world unstructured and open environments.

This focus group conducts multidisciplinary research and development activities in the area of Sensor and Actuator Networks (SANET). Sensor and Actor Networks (SANET). SANET is a spatially distributed system that incorporates a set of heterogeneous sensing and acting agents that, when properly managed, can sense collaboratively and continuously a volume of interest and physically manipulate and interact with it.

Thisgroup focuses on the challenging problems of SANET such as:
-Static sensor placement to maximize the coverage
-Energy-aware deployment of mobile sensors
-Sensor management
-Sensor-actor coordination
-Decentralized data fusion
-Hard and soft data fusion
-Routing, mobility, reliability, fault tolerance and adaptivity.
-Interoperability and accessibility of distributed sensing and acting agents.

The group also explores the applicability of sensor networks to many pertinent areas of industrial and commercial importance such as security and surveillance, environment monitoring, pipeline monitoring, infrastructure health monitoring, industrial process control, health care and home intelligence.