We are the Birmingham Autonomous Robotics Club, or BARC for short. We’re based in the School of Computer Science. Each year we participated in the European Robotics League (ERL) Service League, a robotics competition focused on performing tasks in personal spaces where they can be of service to humans. These tasks involve guiding users through rooms or fetching items while being able to understand voice commands. The league consists of multiple tournaments held across Europe. Each year, teams are ranked according to scores obtained during the tournaments. Each tournament consists of five task benchmarks (TBMs) and three functionality benchmarks (FBMs). The task benchmarks assess the robot’s performance in terms of repeatability and robustness.

The task benchmarks are:

  1. “Getting to know my home” where the robot navigates around the house and learns things about it.
  2. “Welcoming Visitors” where the robot identifies different visitors and allows them to enter the house.
  3. “Catering for Granny Annie’s Comfort” where the robot tends to an elderly patient
  4. “Visit my home” where the robot gives a tour of the house
  5. “General Purpose Service Robots” where the robot answers general questions as well as does any or all of the other 4 tasks.

The functionality benchmarks are:

  1. “Object Perception” where the robot has to identify objects by name and category, as well as their pose.
  2. “Navigation” where the robot must navigate a space.
  3. “Speech recognition” where the robot converts speech to a formatted command.

This year we participated in two tournaments in Bristol and Lisbon, Portugal. We’re very proud to say we ranked first in two of the three FBMs - Object Perception and Speech Recognition! It was a wonderful experience for all our members and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.

BARC is always looking for new members and now has a Facebook page. Like our page to find out more or join our Club.