Arctic Off-Road Robotics Lab (AORO) is a Swedish initiative specializing on autonomous mobile systems for work in unstructured environments. Research is conducted using a unique infrastructure composed of a mobile research facility and a large terrain-going and crane-equipped experimental platform.
AORO is located in Luleå, Sweden. It is a co-operation between Luleå University of Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Skogstekniska klustret (the Cluster of Forest Technology). In different projects, the AORO team collaborates with actors in value-chains where off-road vehicles are central, for instance, forestry, agriculture, construction industry etc. Research and development for autonomous forestry is a central part of the AORO’s work.
To conduct this research, the team has developed and invested in a testbed infrastructure based on a dedicated autonomous off-road vehicle platform with weight of 10 ton and can carry a payload of about 3 ton. Modular chassis enable different units to be replaced to fit certain research. Four individually pendulum arms are attached to the chassis. These arms can be actively (and individually) controlled or passively through a float control valve connecting positive and negative ports of left- and right-hand side pendulum arm cylinders. Due to the modular design, the drivetrain and the auxiliary equipment can easily be reconfigured.
The platform is equipped with proprioceptive sensors logging all relevant internal properties such as positions, pressures, velocities, accelerations etc. In addition, the platform has been equipped with several exteroceptive sensors enabling sensing of the surrounding environment and positioning. The infrastructure also includes a load changer truck carrying a customized mobile lab in which the platform can be fitted thus enabling flexibility to perform tests in different environments
To process the data gathered in real time, dedicated GPU:s are used. In addition, a powerful I/O process
ing unit is used for management of signals and execute algorithms. The software architecture is based on Robot Operating System (ROS), Matlab/Simulink, Python and C.
“With the AORO testbed, autonomous technology will be developed to significantly improve the sustainability of utility vehicle activities in off-road environments” (Magnus Karlberg, professor in machine design at Luleå University of Technology)
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