Exploration robot for fire fighting units

Funding: National Foundation for Science, Croatia, and Hrid d.o.o. Zagreb, Croatia

Year: 2008-2010

Principal investigator: Zdenko Kovačić

Project employees (full-time):

Marko Cukon (student), Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb – design and building of the robot prototype

Kristijan Brkić (Ph.D. student), Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb – virtual modeling and simulation of the robot, mounting of sensors and building of control system

Goran Vasiljević (Ph.D. student), Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb – design and building of a flipper control system, design and building of electronic modules for sensors interfacing

Dream team: Goran, Marko and Kristijan

Project activities (finished):
  • Studying the norms for the atex certified systems
  • Elaboration of the explosion-proof concept of robot construction
  • CAD design of the first and second version of robot construction
  • Development of a simulation model and simulation environment (Matlab, SolidWorks, USARSim)
  • Purchase of robot equipment (atex certified) – robot parts, CO, CO2 and NOx sensors, thermovision camera, wireless communication equipment
  • Manufacturing of mechanical parts
  • Assembly and functional testing of mechanical subsystems (e.g. flippers)
  • Assembly and functional testing of a complete robot
  • Testing of gas sensors and thermovision camera
  • Integration of on-board robot controller and local servo-controllers, as well as microcontroller-based sensor interfaces
  • Laboratory testing of new robot functions along with continuous testing of robot mechanics, power electronics, electrics, control units and sensors
  • Gradual testing of all robot subsystems
  • Development of control algorithms and integration of all HW and SW into a fully functional and controllable robot which satisfies initial criteria with regards to safety, manoeuvrability, and functionality
  • Building a polygon for testing the robot in quasi-real conditions (steps with a varying steepness, different kinds of obstacles etc.)
  • Development of mechanical add-on parts (console for control units, pan-tilt stands for cameras, etc.)
  • Selection of battery power supply subsystem
  • Experiments for assessment of robot autonomy duration
  • Development and building of a suitcase for control unit
  • Development of multimodal control (manual, semiautomatic, fully automatic)
  • Coordinated control of tracks and flippers under different operating conditions
  • Integration and testing of a wireless communication system (streaming video, bidirectional sound transmission and telemetry data)


Kovačić, Z.; Cukon, M.; Brkić, K.; Vasiljević, G.; Mutka, A.; Miklić, D.; Vuglec, F.; Rajković, I., Design and Control of a Four-Flipper Tracked Exploration & Inspection Robot, Proceedings of the 21st Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation, 7-12, Chania, Greece, 2013.

Kovačić, Z.; Cukon, M.; Brkić, K.; Vasiljević, G.; Mutka, A.; Miklić, D. A Four-flipper Tracked Robot for Exploration & Inspection in Life-threatening Environments, The Austrian Robotics Workshop 2012, 47-52, Graz, Austria, 2012.

Mutka, A.; Kovačić, Z. A Leg-wheel Robot-based Approach to the Solution of Flipper-track Robot Kinematics, Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE Multi-Conference on Systems and Control – 2011 IEEE International Conference on Control Applications (CCA), Denver, Omnipress, 1443-1450, 2011.