Service Robot Technologies

© Fraunhofer IPA


Innovative service robots are developed on the basis of a broad spectrum of key technologies. Fraunhofer IPA develops innovative, practicable solutions both for control software and sensors as well as for robot hardware .

Thanks to their ability to navigate autonomously and safely, especially among people, mobile service robots can be implemented in everyday environments. To execute complex assistive tasks, autonomous and collision-free (mobile) manipulation abilities of the robots play an increasingly important role.

New sensors and processes enable real-time environment monitoring in a three-dimensional space. They are used not only to prevent collisions during manipulation but also to identify objects or object classes to be handled in the surroundings. With the application environments being highly dynamic, flexibility of the processes is essential, for example to respond quickly to new object models.

Despite new hardware components being developed for service robots, it is still very difficult to attain the degree of flexibility required. One approach is to develop new integrated drive concepts. To enable safe interaction with humans, new lightweight robots and soft robotic solutions are needed that also comply with rising demands for more affordable hardware.

Before a technical solution for safe human-robot interaction can be implemented in practice, it also has to comply with relevant European norms and guidelines. The conformity of these solutions requires appropriate validation and verification.




As automation becomes more flexible, mobile robot systems are being implemented in more and more areas of industry. This development places high demands on their navigation systems.


Mobile Manipulation

Fraunhofer IPA has gained extensive experience in the field of manipulation with mobile service robots. The department has its own flexible software environment, in which fundamental algorithms for kinematic calculations are united with diverse components for collision-free manipulation.


3D Image Processing

Before a mobile service robot can execute manipulation and navigation tasks fully autonomously in both known as well as unknown, changing environments, it has to be capable of sensing its environment in 3D.


Drive Concepts

The institute not only develops omnidirectional drive modules that can be easily integrated into a robot platform. It also works on systems for controlling them in an optimum way, as well as on the development of differential drives.



Lightweight Robots and Soft Robotics

In the course of a research project, Fraunhofer IPA has developed an innovative lightweight robot. The drive module used to move the biomechanically-orientated robot arm is a new type of actuators with cable transmission that is a further development of the DOHELIX muscle.


Safe Human-Robot Interaction

Service robots are increasingly being implemented in areas requiring direct interaction with man. Safe interaction and compliance with relevant guidelines and norms is fundamental to make use of new interactive solutions in practise.


Product sheet “Navigating autonomous systems flexibly in dynamic and changing environments”


Product Sheet »Collision-free manipulation of mobile service robots in dynamic environments«


Product Sheet 'Adaptive 3D Object Recognition for Service Robots'


Product Sheet »3D environment reconstruction and interpretation for service robots«


Product Sheet »Compact drive modules for omnidirectional robot platforms«


Product Sheet »ISELLA 2 - Lightweight robotic arm with quadhelix drive«