Requests for bachelor and master theses are welcome at any time. We have built an environment with two levels connected by a spiral staircase for our humanoid robot and have a lot of interesting work to do.

Maren Bennewitz is gender equality representative (Gleichstellungsbeauftragte) of the Faculty of Engineering. If you have any questions regarding this topic, please drop an E-Mail.

July 2013 - Our Nao is navigating in previously unknown, cluttered 3D environment based on a learned heightmap representation of the environment. The robot is equipped with an ASUS Xtion Pro Live on top of its head and frequently updates the heightmap to plan footsteps online. See this webpage for further details.

May 2013 - Olivier Stasse and Maren Bennewitz are guest editors of a special issue on Motion Planning and Navigation with Humanoids of the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics. Submission deadline: June 14.

May 2013 - Michael Zillich, Maren Bennewitz, Maria Fox, Justus Piater, and Dejan Pangercic are jointly organizing a workshop on Robots in Clutter: Preparing Robots for the Real World at RSS 2013 in June.

May 2013 - Our whole group will be at ICRA 2013 in Karlsruhe from May 6-10. Maren Bennewitz and Olivier Stasse are jointly organizing a workshop on Progress and Open Problems in Motion Planning and Navigation for Humanoids at the conference.

May 2013 - Armin Hornung will give a tutorial about 3D Mapping with OctoMap at ROSCon 2013 and give an invited presentation about our work on whole-body motion planning at the ICRA 2013 workshop on Motion Planning for Mobile Manipulation: State-of-the-art Methods and Tools.

April 2013 - Our FP7-Call-10 IP proposal has been evaluated with 14/15 points and will be funded by the EC! Within this project we will develop techniques for robots to clean up children's rooms in close interaction with the children.

April 2013 - New release of our octree-based mapping library: OctoMap 1.6 with new features and improved performance (full changelog).

March 2013 - Felix Burget started as Ph.D. student in our lab and Aaron Klein joins us as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

February 2013 - Our EU FP7 project ROVINA starts.

January 2013 - Our articles "OctoMap: An Efficient Probabilistic 3D Mapping Framework Based on Octrees" and "Vision-based Humanoid Navigation Using Self-Supervised Obstacle Detection" have been accepted for publication in the Autonomous Robots Journal and in the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics.

December 2012 - Our work is highlighted in a German magazine article about robotics together with the work of Cynthia Breazeal and Hiroshi Ishiguro!

December 2012 - Merry Christmas! Listen to our Nao playing Jingle Bells on a Glockenspiel.

December 2012 - Our robots are the top story at the university's homepage. Read this article on Surprising Science, the science portal of the University of Freiburg.

November 2012 - We are invited to give a presentation about our work on Search-Based Footstep Planning at the Workshop on Humanoid Soccer Robots at the IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots in Osaka.

November 2012 - Jeremias Holub joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

October 2012 - Stefan Oßwald was awarded the VDI-Förderpreis for his Master's thesis on Techniques for Autonomous Stair Climbing with Humanoid Robots.

October 2012 - Our Nao conducted the University Big Band at the new students' welcome party in the Freiburger SC stadium. Watch this video and see this picture of the event. Also have a look at the article in the Badische Zeitung.

October 2012 - New package humanoid_localization available in the humanoid_navigation stack. It enables Monte Carlo localization in a 3D OctoMap based on laser, odometry, and IMU data to estimate the full 6D torso pose of a humanoid.

September 2012 - Our Nao is able to perform object manipulation tasks involving whole-body motions: Opening a drawer, opening a door, and grabbing an object from a shelf. Paper submitted to ICRA...

August 2012 - Technology Review features an interview with Maren Bennewitz about human-like robots.

August 2012 - New release of our octree-based mapping library: OctoMap 1.5. Along with the 3D visualization tool "octovis", the octomap distribution now also includes "dynamicEDT3D", a library for dynamically updatable 3D distance maps by C. Sprunk, B. Lau, and W. Burgard.

August 2012 - Armin Hornung will give a lecture about "3D Mapping with OctoMap" at the ROS RoboCup Rescue Summerschool.

July 2012 - Our FP7-Call-9 proposal ROVINA has been accepted for funding by the EC.

July 2012 - Our Nao is able to walk down ramps autonomously. This video shows the Nao walking down a 2.10m long ramp at an inclination of 20 degrees.

July 2012 - Ramin Zohouri joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

June 2012 - Our proposal for the Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools has been awarded.

June 2012 - Maren Bennewitz will give an invited presentation about our research on humanoid navigation at the German-French workshop on Perspectives on Cognitive Interaction and Technology.

May 2012 - Maren Bennewitz was invited to join the Editorial Board of the Journal of AI Research.

May 2012 - Igor Bogoslavskyi joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

May 2012 - Armin Hornung will give a tutorial about ROS for Humanoid Robots at ROSCon 2012.

March 2012 - Our imitation video was elected for the second place of the best video award at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction!

March 2012 - Felix Burget joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

February 2012 - New release of the octree-based mapping library: OctoMap 1.4, along with the updated octomap_mapping ROS stack for electric.

January 2012 - Winfried Kretschmann, the prime minister of the State Baden-W├╝rttemberg, visited our Faculty. We gave a demonstration of our stair climbing robot, which he seemed to like. Have a look at the articles in the Badische Zeitung and Bild.

December 2011 - Our new Nao-H25 v4 arrived! This video shows its first steps...

November 2011 - Tobias Domhan joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

October 2011 - We released an update of our footstep planner in the ROS humanoid_navigation stack. The planner is now much faster and builds on SBPL. In addition to the previous D* Lite implementation, this now enables anytime (re-)planning, e.g., with ARA* or AD*.

October 2011 - Maren Bennewitz will give an invited presentation about our work on humanoid navigation at the Humamoids 2011 workshop on Humanoid service robot navigation in crowded and dynamic environments, October 26th, 2011 Bled, Slovenia.

September 2011 - Our Nao was in CBSNEWS Creepy but cool: robots that climb stairs, fly and fight like Jedis (start at 1'30 min). Here is the link to a local copy of the video.

September 2011 - We will present our stair-climbing Nao at the IROS 2011 demonstration session, September 27-29, in San Francisco.

August 2011 - We moved to new office space in building 074! Students are welcome to visit the lab at any time. In case the outer doors are closed, just call 97951, 97950, or 97949 from the main entry, which is at the end of the parking lot.

July 2011 - This video shows our Nao humanoid imitating whole-body motions of humans almost in real time!

March 2011 - Our Nao autonomously climbs up spiral staircases! Check this video.

March 2011 - Armin Hornung and Kai Wurm released the stable version 1.0 of the octree-based mapping library OctoMap. A new version of the octomap_mapping stack for ROS is also available.

February 2011 - We developed an approach to efficient, optimal footstep planning for humanoid robots. We formulate the problem of footstep planning so that it can be solved with the incremental heuristic search method D* Lite. See this webpage for further details. Our D* Lite algorithm for footstep planning is available as open source implementation as part of the Robot Operating System (ROS).

December 2010 - Johannes Garimort joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

November 2010 - Armin Hornung and Kai Wurm released a new version of the OctoMap library, which is an efficient, compact 3D map representation. In this improved version, map building and queries on the map are carried out significantly faster. It is also available as package for ROS.

November 2010 - Our SFB/TR8 Spatial Cognition will be funded for another four years by the DFG.

November 2010 - Daniel Maier joins the lab as Ph.D. student.

October 2010 - Jonas Koenemann joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

June 2010 - We developed a 6D localization system for humanoid robots. It is based on 2D laser data in a given 3D model of the environment and yields highly accurate estimates even in complex indoor environments. Here is a video with simulation and real robot experiments. The laser head for the Nao humanoid was developeed by Aldebaran Robotics in cooperation with our lab.

May 2010 - Our Nao robot is able to imitate human motions (Jonas Koenemann's bachelor's thesis). Video coming soon!

April 2010 - Our article "Efficient Vision-based Navigation - Learning about the Influence of Motion Blur" has been accepted for publication in the Autonomous Robots journal.

March 2010 - Armin Hornung provides drivers and software to integrate the Nao robot into ROS, which is a free and open source robot operating system developed by Willow Garage.

March 2010 - We published a video showing our laser-equipped Nao robot climbing up a staircase with steps of 7cm height!

January 2010 - Daniel Maier and Stefan Oßwald join the lab as part-time assistants (Hiwis).

October 2009 - Armin Hornung receives the VDI-Förderpreis 2009 for his thesis on "Learning Policies for Reliable Mobile Robot Localization"!

September 2009 - Our proposal "Humanoid Robot Navigation in Complex Indoor Environments" has been accepted! Now, we are part of the SFB/TR8 Spatial Cognition. For our research, we will use the laser-equipped Nao developeed by Aldebaran Robotics in cooperation with our lab.

August 2009 - Our Nao robot is able to climb stairs with a height of 7cm! See these pictures: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

June 2009 - Our Nao robot met the German minster for education and science, Mrs. Annette Schavan, during her visit at the Faculty of Engineering. Here ist a picture of the event.

March 2009 - Our Nao robot from Aldebaran Robotics has just arrived!

March 2009 - Maren Bennewitz will give an invited presentation about our work on "Learning Efficient Policies for Vision-based Navigation" at the ICRA'09 Workshop Visual Mapping and Navigation in Outdoor Environments.

March 2009 - Attila Görög joins the lab as part-time assistant (Hiwi).

February 2009 - Armin Hornung joins the lab as Ph.D. student.

October 2008 - Christian Plagemann designed our new logo.

October 2008 - The lab has been founded.

The Humanoid Robots Laboratory

The Humanoid Robots Laboratory is a new lab founded in October 2008 at the University of Freiburg, Department of Computer Science.

The lab is headed by :

Prof. Dr. Maren Bennewitz (Assistant Professor / Juniorprofessorin)
Department of Computer Science
Georges-Koehler-Allee 79
D-79110 Freiburg, Germany

Building 079, Room 1020

Tel. +49 (0) 761 203-8025
Fax +49 (0) 761 203-8007


Research Focus

Recently, humanoid robots have been enjoying great popularity and are now used as a research tool in many groups worldwide. These types of robots possess human-like actuators and sensors that allow them to act in environments designed for humans. One of the motivation behind the research area of humanoid robotics is to develop robots that are able to coexist with humans and interact with them in a natural way.

Our research group concentrates on autonomy and interaction concepts of humanoid robots. Currently, we are especially interested in humanoid robots acting in complex indoor environments, which contain different rooms as well as multiple levels connected by steps and staircases. In addition to technological advances in the area of humanoid robotics, we seek to understand the social and emotional aspects that this type of embodiment of robotic technology encompasses.

In all our research activities, we focus on adaptive, learning robots. We believe that key techniques to develop such agents are probabilistic approaches that allow for dealing with uncertainty as well as methods from machine learning.