Developing new use cases in robotics through EU projects

PAL Robotics and EU Projects

Advancing robotics through EU Collaborative Projects

At PAL Robotics we have partnered in more than 25 European Union research projects (EU projects), where we have worked in collaboration to develop robotics solutions for current and new applications, in areas such as healthcare, agrifood, industry, and R&D. A number of these projects are within the Horizon Europe framework, which is the European Union’s flagship Research and Innovation programme. 

Horizon Europe (previously Horizon 2020) supports new technologies, and aims to tackle societal challenges, including health and ageing, energy, and the environment, and challenges with transport, shops and cities. This work includes collaboration with the robotics community.

As well as participating in the Horizon Europe and Horizon 2020 programmes, we have collaborated in a range of programmes, thanks to the European Union, which offer calls for proposals and projects which aim to bring together both public and private sector organisations to develop new solutions, new use cases and essentially drive transformation. 

To keep updated on our work and research, check out our blog.

Horizon Europe, EIT, EUREKA-Eurostars and FSTPs

Horizon Europe

The EU’s key programme for research and innovation, is the most ambitious Research & Innovation programme in the world.

Within the pillars of the Horizon Europe programme, PAL Robotics’ key interest is in ‘Artificial intelligence and robotics’ which targets robotics applications directly.  There are however other areas where robotics and AI are or can be applied, and these include: Tools, technologies and digital solutions for health and care including personalised medicine; Social and economic transformations; Cybersecurity; Communities and cities; Industrial competitiveness in transport; Clean, safe and accessible transport and mobility; Digital and emerging technologies; Smart mobility; and Agriculture, forestry and rural areas.

EUREKA – Eurostars

The EUREKA – Eurostars programme supports innovative SMEs and project partners (large companies, universities, research organisations and other types of organisations) in international collaborative R&D and innovation projects. The CDTI is the body that is in charge in Spain of the execution of Eurostars and the granting of public aid to Spanish companies participating in approved projects.

Financial Support for Third Parties (FSTPs)

In addition to these programs, we have also been part of Financial Support for Third Parties (FSTPs) also known as Cascade Funding, which is a European Commission mechanism to assist beneficiaries in the uptake or development of digital innovation. This method aims at simplifying administrative procedures, creating a lighter application scheme, by allowing that some EU-funded projects may issue, in turn, open calls for further funding. We have also collaborated on local projects such as projects within the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) under the FEDER Catalonia Operative Programme 2014-2020.

Below are some examples of the diverse range of projects we have partnered in:

Projects in healthcare to support independent daily living    

In the healthcare sector, we collaborate in projects such as SPRING and ALMI. The aim of the projects is to create an environment that promotes healthy and independent living for older individuals, even supporting them with mental wellbeing and social inclusion in hospitals, homes and care centers.

The SPRING  project is working on developing Socially Assistive Robots, with the ability to perform multi-person interactions and have an open and extensive dialogue. PAL Robotics is adapting our ARI robots as well as integrating the software developed by project partners. The goal is for ARI the robot to be able to participate in different user cases in a hospital environment, including greeting visitors on reception.

Read more about our robots delivered to hospitals with Project SPRING.

The ALMI project focuses on the development of adaptation methods enabling assistive-care robots to cope with the uncertainty and disruptions unavoidable in a home environment. In this case, PAL Robotics platform,  the mobile manipulator TIAGo, is being developed and will use both speech interaction and object manipulation capabilities to help a users with mild motor and cognitive impairments with household tasks, including meal preparation.

Thanks in part to these collaborations with project partners, we have been able to further develop the concept of socially-aware robots with deep learning capabilities, as well as developing aspects such as natural language processing to enable a multi-person dialogue.

Agri-food projects to introduce robotics into unstructured production environments    

We collaborate in projects such as Canopies in the Agri-Food sector. The goal of this project is to create a Human-Robot prototype in Agri-Food that addresses the challenges of Human-Robot Interaction and collaboration in an unstructured, highly-dynamic outdoor environment of vineyards for pruning tasks. 

For this project PAL Robotics’ dual-armed mobile manipulator, TIAGo++ is being used. Thanks to this project we have been able to develop advanced TIAGo manipulation capabilities, especially for agronomic manipulation.

Additionally, in the agri-food sector, we are partners in the SCAFo project. The main objective of this project is to facilitate the introduction of a fleet of AMRs to perform food transportation tasks in the food processing industry. 

The SCAFo project has allowed us to develop the TIAGo Base New Generation mobile base, which is particularly robust, carrying payloads of up to 150kg, and suitable for use in harsh and damp conditions. 

Projects to increase productivity and optimize resources in industry 4.0

The efficient and ongoing movement of materials and goods from one location to another in industry ensures the flow of production lines, which is strongly linked to productivity in industry 4.0

We are partners in several ongoing projects in industry that aim to increase productivity and optimize resources, such as EVOLVED 5G.The EVOLVED-5G project aims to contribute towards the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0. 5G offers a connection that is more reliable and efficient than wifi and 4G, essential for robots to work together with the rest of the systems and also for robot fleet management (robots working together). 

Our AI-driven humanoid robot TIAGo is being used in this work to focus on the development of the NetApps. The NetApps will support agile production through using robotics and AI technologies in factories of the future. 

R&D EU projects including AI and deep learning for multiple sectors 

In the R&D area, an example of a project we collaborate in is Open DR. The main goal is to provide advanced perception and cognition abilities in robotics to be able to use these robotic applications in areas such as healthcare, agri-food, and agile production.

Read more about our deep learning toolkit for robotics with Open DR

In Open DR we are implementing AI and deep learning tools from the project on our TIAGo robot for the healthcare use case. The main objective of the healthcare use case is to build a versatile robotic assistant that helps with the wide range of tasks a patient would do on a daily basis. 

This is helping to endow our TIAGo robot with a series of object detection and manipulation capabilities, such as ‘open drawers’ or ‘bring a bottle of water,’ that can be remembered and activated by the robot, improving Human-robot Interaction in research and increasing the potential for robotics platforms such as TIAGo to help more in our everyday lives.

In the research projects we take part in, our robots including TALOS, ARI, TIAGo, REEM-C, StockBot and TIAGo Base are used for hardware customization, software and hardware integration, and software development.

At PAL Robotics, we are always looking for new opportunities within EU research projects and are interested in forming collaborations with new project partners. Visit our collaborative projects webpage to see details of all of the EU-funded projects we currently collaborate in, including the expertise we offer and the robotic platforms we use. If you are looking for a project partner, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss working together.

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