11 December 2023

In December of 2023, the University Board for Linköping University went on a study visit to the Department of Electrical Engineering (ISY). In the research arena Visionen, current student and research projects were presented, followed by discussions on future industrial collaborations and development.

ELLIIT Joint Autonomous Systems Lab in Linköping and Lund showcasing autonomous robot.
The university board on site in the research arena Visionen for demonstrations of autonomous systems. Charlotte Perhammar

Visionen is a large and modern research arena designed for both research and undergraduate education. With a 12x12x8-meter obstruction-free volume and technical capabilities, such as positioning and projection systems, Visionen stands out as a nationally unique research and demonstration arena, particularly suitable for autonomous systems and robotics. 

Autonomous robot

During the recent university board visit, they witnessed a project by students from the course Construction with microcomputers. With one week left until the examination, there were smiles all around as the self-driving robot successfully navigated the designated course for the demonstration. In subsequent discussions, Vice-Chancellor Jan-Ingvar Jönsson asked the students to evaluate the course with a thumbs up or thumbs down. All students gave a resounding thumbs up.

Collaborations and autonomous drones

Foto Charlotte Perhammar Then, infrastructure projects from the strategic research environment ELLIIT were presented. The ELLIIT Joint Autonomous Systems Lab in Linköping and Lund is developing an open research platform. A replica of the environment exists in Lund, providing expanded opportunities for collaborations, joint research, and code exchange. During the presentation, a large-scale autonomous robot navigated among board members while sensor data was visualized on the floor and walls. The purpose of the environment is an open research platform for autonomous functionalities, such as motion planning and autonomous decision-making. The robot will also be used as a sensor platform to explore research questions in areas like computer vision.

Drones were also flown to demonstrate Visionen's positioning system. The autonomous drone was programmed to stay within a delimited area, invisible to the human eye. It was also set to follow a specified point represented by a plate. As the plate moved, the drone followed, staying within the designated area. In the ensuing discussions, it was highlighted that regarding Model Predictive Control (MPC), Linköping University is at the forefront globally. For example, a nano drone has successfully solved over 500 optimization problems per second.

Virtual lawnmowing

Foto Charlotte Perhammar The presentations in Visionen concluded by emphasizing collaboration between academia and industry. Representatives from the research environment for computer vision within WASP showcased a virtual lawnmowing scenario with a robot from Husqvarna. The aim was to underscore the importance of being able to "train" the safety systems of self-driving robots in virtual environments, as these are both more time-efficient and sustainable. In the subsequent discussions, the crucial role of industry doctoral students in advancing industrial development was also emphasized.

Quantum lab

Foto Charlotte Perhammar The study visit concluded with a demonstration at the research laboratory for information coding, also known as the "quantum lab." Discussions here included research on quantum cryptography, which is guaranteed secure based on how photons behave, and the advanced courses offered. The lab is scheduled for significant expansion in 2024 to accommodate future research projects.

The chair of the university board, Susanne Thedéen, considered it a very successful visit and described it as follows:

– For the university board, it is very valuable and rewarding to visit the university's various institutions. It gives us an opportunity to gain closer insights into the education and research closely tied to our operations. This was especially true during our visit to the Department of Electrical Engineering, where the students' demonstrations of future robots and drones exemplified Linköping University's crucial role in technological and societal development.


Read about the work of The University Board

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