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Bosch Selected to Participate in Willow Garage’s PR2 Beta Program

Program aims to enable scientific breakthroughs in personal robotics
- Research objective is to explore new applications for personal robots
- Bosch is the only corporate institution to receive a robot
- Personal Robot 2 Beta Program is valued at more than $4 million

Palo Alto, California – Bosch has been selected by Willow Garage, Inc. to receive a Personal Robot 2 (PR2). This two-year research program is designed to accele-rate research in personal robotics through collaboration within the technical robotics community. The PR2 Beta Program is a new long-term initiative of Willow Garage, a company that develops robotics hardware and open source robotics software. The total program is valued at more than $4 million. Bosch is the only corporate organi-zation to receive a PR2 and is one of 11 program recipients, including institutions such as Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We consider robotics applications to be a very attractive business area for Bosch in the future,” states Horst Muenzel, regional president of Bosch Corporate Research North America. “We are happy to work with Willow Garage and its robotics open source community to set the basis for a future robotics market now.”

The robotics team at Bosch Research and Technology Center North America (RTC) will focus on developing solutions for the personal robotics market by making robots safe, affordable and capable. The Bosch robotics team in Palo Alto closely collabo-rates with experts of the Bosch Corporate Research based in Stuttgart, Germany, who bring in additional expertise in sensing, signal processing and manufacturing. Research topics will comprise utilization of advanced sensor devices and advance-ment of robot human interaction.

“In our partnership with Willow Garage, Bosch brings to the table expertise in manu-facturing, sensing technologies, safety systems and consumer products, offering in-dustry credibility that complements and balances the longer term research goals of our fellow university participants,” says Jan Becker, principal engineer at the RTC. “Our goal is to use our sensing expertise to enable new applications for the PR2.”

The PR2 will be delivered to the Bosch Research and Technology Center this month. Valued at $400,000, the PR2 includes a mobile base, two arms for manipu-lation, a rich sensor suite and 16 CPU cores for computation. The robot will be used in a number of diverse projects during its two year stay.

The researchers will integrate advanced Bosch sensor technology, such as MEMS accelerometers, gyros and force sensors and air pressure sensors, in the PR2 to enable new applications and to accelerate the wide-scale deployment of robot tech-nology in new commercial and private environments. Bosch will supply a sensing system to allow touchless human robot interaction with the PR2 and increase robot safety through near range sensing. Also, Bosch will explore how a human can effec-tively interact with a PR2. Including a human in the loop will improve the robot’s per-formance and reliability. These improvements will allow robots to be deployed earli-er, at lower cost and in more complex environments. In addition, the Bosch re-searchers will also use the PR2 for automatic mapping and reconstruction of 3D en-vironments.

In 1999, Bosch established the Research and Technology Center North America with offices in Palo Alto, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An additional office was opened in 2007 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As part of the Bosch global Corporate Research Organization, its responsibilities comprise:
• Technology scouting in North America for all relevant research directions of Bosch
• Global Competence Center for circuit design, semiconductors and wireless
• Dedicated research as part of global research teams with special emphasis on collaboration with top U.S. universities and high-end companies
• Close contacts to the academic world and scientific centers in the U.S.

The Research and Technology Center North America is committed to providing technologies and system solutions for various Bosch business fields primarily in the areas of sensors, circuit design, wireless solutions, energy materials and technolo-gies, complex simulations, software engineering, human machine interface design, car infotainment, web technologies and autonomous systems such as robotics.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 275,000 associates generated sales of $53 billion (38.2 billion euros) in fiscal 2009. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is repre¬sented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for growth. Each year, Bosch spends more than $5 billion (3.5 billion euros) for research and development, and applies for some 3,800 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial drives and control technology, power tools, security and communication systems, packaging technology, thermotechnology, household appliances, solar energy and healthcare products. Having established a regional presence in 1906, Bosch employs over 20,000 associates in more than 70 locations, with reported sales of $7.3 billion in fiscal 2009.

For more information, visit www.boschusa.com.

PR Beta2 Program - June 2010


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