UNIVERSITY OF SALENTO

UNIVERSITY OF SALENTO

The University of Salento’s Department of Engineering for Innovation is located in Lecce, Southern Italy. It focuses on new technologies and is devoted to promote and to disseminate technology innovation related to the following main research areas: Aeronautics, Robotics, ICT, Bio-applications of materials and ICT, Nanotechnologies, Telecommunications, Design and testing in Mechanical and Civil Engineering.

Research activities are supported through grants funded by: European Union (in the FP5, FP6, FP7, and H2020 programs), the Italian Ministry for Education University and Research, regional authority (Apulia), main Italian research centres (ENEA, ASI CNR, INFM, INFN), and private companies. The Department counts about 110 of research permanent academic staff, most of which are affiliated with the Schools of Engineering and Science, 15 of technical/administrative staff, 17 of non-permanent researchers, and over 100 PhD students and Post-docs working in several research projects. On a regional basis in the last few years, the Department has been able to gain about 30% of all supported research projects, competing against other 3 regional Universities (two in Bari and one in Foggia). The Department organizes an average of three international conferences and workshop each year and several national conferences.

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ROLE WITHIN THE PROJECT: US will be responsible of the Soil navigation estimation. US will mainly contribute to increasing the degree of autonomy of a agricultural rover to navigate safely in unstructured environments via traversability assessment of the terrain ahead using a multi-sensor approach. Traversability analysis and the subsequent selection of a danger free route are prerequisites to accomplish assigned tasks in long-range and long-duration applications. To this end, US will use the expertise developed in previous and ongoing research in field robotics in general, and specifically on planetary exploration rovers. Research activity has been devoted for more than ten years to the study of wheel terrain interaction drawing on the classical Terramechanics theory, and to the development of advanced perception solutions including the adoption of multi-sensor modalities (e.g., stereovision in conjunction with LIDAR) in challenging off-road scenarios. Expertise has been developed within national, European and international research projects, including three FP7/H2020 projects, two fellowships respectively with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) and the Space Robotics Lab of the Tohoku University where specific research was developed on novel methods to enhance mobility of mobile robots on loose terrain, such that lunar and planetary rovers are expected to encounter.