Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems (A2S)


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The b-it-bots team is a student-oriented robotics team that is managed by the research staff involved in the Master of Autonomous Systems program.
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What is done there?

The main goal of the team is the participation at RoboCup, which is a competition in which robots have to perform various tasks and the performance is evaluated according to a predefined set of criteria (e. g., whether a robot was successful in performing a given task or whether certain parts of the task were performed correctly). The team that accumulates the most points during a competition is proclaimed the winner.


Who can join?

All students interested in robots are welcome to join, regardless of the level of their studies (that is, bachelor's, master's, and PhD students are all equally welcome).

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Are there different teams?

The b-it-bots team operates as two subteams:

  • The b-it-bots@Home team focuses on developing software for domestic service robots, namely robots that are supposed to operate in home-like environments. This includes performing tasks such as helping with grocery storing, cleaning up, receiving guests at a party, and so forth.
  • The b-it-bots@Work team focuses on developing software for smart industrial robots. In particular, the setup that the @Work team operates in is a smart factory, where robots are tasked with tasks such as transporting items between different factory stations.


When are the meetings?

The meeting times vary between semesters, depending on the course timetable. As a default, both the @Work and the @Home members meet on Friday at 13:00 in C069.

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What do you have to be able to do?

Interest in programming robots is the main prerequisite for joining the team; most members learn the tools required for working with our robots as part of their activities in the team. The following is a list of the primary tools the b-it-bots use:

  • Our robot software is based on the Robot Operating System (ROS) middleware.
  • We primarily use Python and C++ for development. Python is used due to its simplicity, which makes it very useful for very fast prototyping and suitable for specifying high-level robot tasks. C++ is the preferred language of choice whenever efficient computation is required, for instance when working with point cloud data or dealing with low-level platform control.
  • All our software is on GitHub, which is our primary tool for distributed development.
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How does it work?

As a general rule, all members go through an initial onboarding period, during which they mostly attend meetings and dedicate time to understand the tools used by the team as well as the software that the team members are actively using and developing. After the onboarding period, dedicated tasks are assigned to each member, depending on their individual preferences (e.g., some members mostly work on visual perception of the environment, other members focus on problems related to robot navigation, and so forth).

It should be noted that participation in the b-it-bots is a voluntary activity. In other words, every member decides how much time they want to dedicate to the b-it-bots and how they want to use their time in the team. This, in turn, depends on what each member's intrinsic motivation for being in the team is.

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Why should I join?

Joining the b-it-bots has several benefits for students:

  • It provides an opportunity to get hands-on experience with our robots.
  • The b-it-bots team is also a training ground for working on a large, collaborative project.
  • Since we host our code on GitHub, any contributions you make to our repositories become part of your portfolio.
  • Many of the activities of the b-it-bots teams lead to scientific publications, which means that participation in the team may provide you with an opportunity to co-author a paper or two.
  • Being in the team is also a great social activity, namely you get to socialise with other students and/or staff members while at the same time having fun working with robots.