Imagine yourself wandering around in the Austrian wilderness, rich in mountains and forests. Suddenly you realize that you have lost your way. Fortunately, you can identify your goal, a mountain top, in the distance. Because you are human and have excellent sensory organs, a powerful brain, good movement skills, acquired knowledge about landscapes, navigation and the correct behaviour in the mountains, you can find yourself around and reach the summit cross.
Now, imagine yourself being a robot carrying out transportation tasks – such as delivering food and heating material to an alpine shelter – in these environments. As a robot, you do not naturally own all the features listed above. Your orientation usually derives from available maps of the structured area around you. In addition, the environment you are used to move in is relatively flat. The chances you will make it are rather low. The good news is there is help from “above”!
The team of young professional robotic-software-developers from the start-up ARTI located in Gössendorf has devoted itself to find a solution by using satellite and earth observation data as base for robotic navigation in outdoor environments. ARTI - Autonomous Robot Technology GmbH has already developed a full set of AI Kits to navigate autonomous mobile robots indoors. Now they are aiming at the big world outside of factory halls. Thus, they applied to the ESA Business Incubation Centre Austria. With the support of experts on start-up consultancy and space tech-related topics they want to face this challenging task and realise their ideas and vision.
Finally, it is time to share the exciting news: the hard work was rewarded – ARTI is officially part of ESA BIC Austria! Their company was accepted to the programme of the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre. “This is a highlight and important milestone in ARTI’s history. We are incredibly proud that our technological approach of using satellite and earth observation data for autonomous mobile robotics found the approval of the ESA BIC Austria!” says Konstantin Mautner-Lassnig, CEO of ARTI. He adds: “Making our technologies accessible for open terrain and applications outside the urban world is an important step towards new applications and possibilities. The support by ESA BIC Austria also enables us to take up rescue robotics as a topic again, a passion we’ve been having for a long time and a topic that has strongly shaped us as a team.”
The start-up ARTI was founded by four ambitious software-engineering students from the Technical University Graz with a big passion for and more than ten years of experience with autonomous robots and AI. In the initial phase of their business, they received vital support as part of the incubation programme at Science Park Graz. Meanwhile they have successfully entered the software market for autonomous mobile robots. Also, the team has rapidly grown to 8 members. ARTI now wants to enlarge its field of applications and focus on the development of AI Kits for market areas such as forestry, rescue missions (for example, after earthquakes or floods), maintenance of alpine infrastructure (mountain pastures or skiing slopes) or transport for alpine shelters.
ARTI is excited to be part of ESA BIC Austria. All team members are looking forward to the new challenge of developing AI Kits for autonomous navigation in an unstructured outdoor environment!