EnviroBotics: €400,000 for Innovative Educational Project in Robotics

Innovation |

"Exploratory Learning" is at the core of the educational project "EnviroBotics," which will be supported with €400,000 over the next two years by the Foundation for Innovation in Higher Education. The idea was developed by a research team led by environmental roboticist Daniel Dücker from the Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MIRMI) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

The goal of the new educational project EnviroBotics is to connect students from various disciplines to enable collaborative work on real climate and environmental challenges during their studies. In interdisciplinary teams, students without a background in robotics will work alongside robotics students in a elective course in the master's program to develop their own solution concepts for real environmental problems and implement them with robots, such as automated water monitoring. What makes this project unique is that the Robot Hub, a prerequisite for this innovative approach, has already been developed by the research team led by Daniel Dücker, Anna Adamczyk, and Alexander Moortgat-Pick. Through the Synchronous Team-Robot Van (SVan), it is already relatively easy for individuals without specific robotics knowledge to operate robots on land, in the air, and underwater. Environmental experts can also be remotely connected as needed to control the robots.

Robotics elective course: Curriculum to be developed

The exact structure of the course for students is not yet clear. "Developing an appropriate curriculum is also part of the project," says scientist Dücker. The plan is for the first half of the two-part course to feature weekly "Pitch-Keynotes" providing an introduction to specific topics in robotics and environmental monitoring. Students from various programs will learn about aerial, ground, and underwater robots, prepare simulations, and engage in field experiments with real robots. The second half of the course focuses on "exploratory team learning." "Teams will define a project related to a specific environmental problem and work on it collaboratively," explains Dücker, who hopes that even those who have had no prior involvement with robotics can easily access it. "Additionally, as roboticists, we can identify areas where our concepts need improvement," adds Dücker.

The research team led by Dücker has two years to develop and refine the concept, with the project set to commence on April 1, 2024.

Sponsor: Foundation for Innovation in Higher Education

Funded Project: EnviroBotics – A Free Space for Blending Robotics and Life Sciences

Funding Line: Feiraum

Grant Amount: €400,000

Duration: April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2026