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Intelligent Mobile Robots for Industry, Marine and Security Applications

Autonomous Systems

Intelligent Mobile Robots for Industry, Marine and Security Applications

Introducing Prof. Andreas Birk, Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Jacobs University offers several collaboration options in research and education in the field of autonomous robotics systems. We thereby address companies in various industries and applications.

Our Expertise

  • Development of embedded hardware
  • Mechatronics and sensors
  • High-level software


The systems developed here are used in various domains, including

  • Marine robotics
  • Logistics, and safety
  • Security and rescue robots (SSRR)

Research Projects

Autonomous Systems


  • We do research on underwater object recognition and mapping with a stereo system and an imaging sonar
  • Our mobile robot for logistics operations autonomously recognizes and locates objects for manipulation and transport.
  • We maintain ongoing research on affective computing, such as a tutoring systems based on a humanoid robot

Virtual Robots for Research and Training Applications

The Jacobs virtual robots are based on USARsim, a high-fidelity simulation of large scale urban and indoor environments where different robot platforms can operate in various scenarios. USARsim is an extension of the Unreal Tournament game engine. The underlying Karma physics engine provides kinematically correct robot motions, sensors from a rich selection of standard models can be added to the robots to gather data, and the different USARsim scenarios cover various environment conditions ranging for example from difficult terrain as locomotion challenge to smoke from fires as visual obstruction. The simulator is mainly laid out for Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR). But it is also well suited for work on mobile robots at large. It is an ideal tool for testing prototype implementations of robot algorithms in general. But its main strength from a research perspective is the possibility to investigate multi-robot teams. From an application viewpoint, USARsim is a very beneficial tool for training and exercising. The virtual robots supplement the real Jacobs rescue robots. Each virtual robot runs the autonomous software developed by Jacobs Robotics, i.e., intelligent functions for perception, control, mapping, planning, cooperation, and so on.

Autonomous Systems

Visit our Labs

Our robotics lab features several autonomous underwater robots – such as Wally, a deep sea crawler: Robots are not just employed on land, but increasingly also under water. Often they work in depth that are not accessible for humans. Robots nowadays have abilities to undertake complex tasks and are becoming more affordable to produce.

Jacobs University Rescue Arena: Jacobs University Robotics is equipped with special testing facilities for search and rescue robots. One testsite is the so-called basic rescue arena. This testbed consists of three different levels, the so-called yellow, red, and the orange zone. This approach is modeled after the test arena design from the American National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), which is based on data from real disasters and accidents.