Department of Automatic Control, Lund Institute of TechnologyAutomatic Control

ROSETTA—RObot control for Skilled ExecuTion of Tasks in natural interaction with humans; based on Autonomy, cumulative knowledge and learning

Integrated project funded under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), (Ref. FP7 ICT-230902 ROSETTA);

Researchers: Rolf Johansson, Magnus Linderoth, Anders Robertsson

The ROSETTA research project develops technology for industrial robots that will not only appear more human-like, but also cooperate naturally with human workers. This project is funded by the European Union under the FP7 grant 230902.

The following 4 objectives are set forth:

  • to enable robots to be used in complex tasks with high flexibility and robustness;
  • to ease the deployment effort to allow fast production changeover from product A to product B;
  • to produce an easy-to-use programming system to access ROSETTA robot functionality without the need for highly skilled robot programmers;
  • to provide new sensing, control and decision making methods for safe physical human-robot interaction.

Members (in alphabetical order):

  • ABB AB (Sweden, Coordinator)
  • ABB AG (Germany)
  • Dynamore GmbH (Germany)
  • Fraunhofer IPA (Germany)
  • K.U. Leuven (Belgium)
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitšt Munich (Germany)
  • Lunds Universitet (Sweden)
  • Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Project information

ROSETTA is the acronym for a new European Large-Scale Integrating Research Project “RObot control for Skilled ExecuTion of Tasks in natural interaction with humans; based on Autonomy, cumulative knowledge and learning”. The 4-year project started March 1st, 2009, and has a total budget of 10 MEUR.

ROSETTA develops “human-centric” technology for industrial robots that will not only appear more human-like, but also cooperate with workers in ways that are safe and perceived as natural. Such robots will be programmed in an intuitive and efficient manner, making it easier to adapt them to new tasks when a production line is changed to manufacture a new product.

Key Issues
The need for such robot systems stems from analyses showing that future factories will produce more and more goods with high volumes, but with many variants and limited product lifetime. This requires a flexible manufacturing system allowing for frequent production changes. Robot systems are the automation method of choice to meet these demands, but they need the ability to adapt even more quickly to new tasks, and to obtain full production output faster than today. Also, it is mandatory to easily integrate robots into manufacturing lines with human workers, as the combination of manufacturing by humans and robots promises highest flexibility. Tasks difficult to automate will in this scenario remain the domain of humans, whereas operations with low automation threshold or high quality requirements will be performed by these robots.

Scientific/Technical Approach
The project will address the challenges by developing methods to engineer and program robot systems in ways that are more intuitive, more related to the task, and less specific to the installation. This will require robots to be able to execute tasks more autonomously, without the need for detailed description of every step, and will lead to a significant reduction in programming effort. Once programmed, the robots will use sensor-based learning to autonomously improve their abilities (“skills”) to perform the task quickly, quite like a human worker. When the operation is optimized in this way, the robot shares the knowledge of how to best perform the operation with other robots by sending the parameters over a network to a central server. Other robots do the same, which results in a quick build-up of production knowledge (“cumulative learning”).
Storing and sharing production-related data will make use of latest techniques developed for the Web 2.0, representing such data as form of “knowledge” that can be accumulated, enhanced and re-used by a population of robots.
The production scenario that involves robots and humans working side-by-side and interacting safely requires that design, control and supervision devices and methods are found for robots to be harmless, and to act in a way that humans anticipate and feel comfortable with. This involves developing human-like motion patterns, speech interaction as well as avoidance of any situation that may pose a hazard or uncomfortable situation to human workers or operators. The human-machine cooperation will be supervised by a multi-level sensor system involving different sensor types and a reasoning unit that will analyse the robot environment and give the robot instructions in real-time how to adjust to changing environments and to human presence.

Expected Impact
The engineering and production methods will make robot automation accessible for a variety of new applications, in particular where production is frequently adapted to new product lines. This will enable the European industry to increase its competitiveness by reducing production cost and by increasing production quality. A thorough understanding and modelling of the human/robot contact and interaction in a production scenario are major efforts of ROSETTA. The theoretical and experimental investigations will lead to injury risk classifications with the goal of creating future safety standards for human-robot cooperation, helping the industry to better utilise the potential of robots working in human environments.

Work Packages

WP Title WP Leader
1 Knowledge and skill representation Lund University
2 Knowledge transformation and learning K.U. Leuven
3 Robust task execution Lund University
4 Injury risk knowledge Fraunhofer
5 Safe human-robot interaction control Politecnico di Milano
6 Application and engineering principles ABB
7 Demonstration platform for validation ABB
8 Exploitation and dissemination ABB
9 Management of consortium activities ABB

Press Releases and Articles

Web Sites



 Back to Research  Homepage of Automatic Control
Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional
Rolf Johansson
Last modified: 2010-03-10