In 2009 Peter Leibl and Albert Seemueller, professors at the University of Applied Science Munich, started the project Crawler 2.0. Together with now over 80 masters students in the field of mechatronics they are exploring methods and technologies which will help offering more protection to police officers and other task forces. In extreme situations, UGVs can offer a good option for the secure removal of a potentially harmful device without endangering human lives. Up until now these devices have failed even just the most simple of tasks such as climbing stairs or opening a door.
Professor Leibl and professor Seemueller, together with their team of students, have come up with a creative solution to these tasks. With a minimal budget, this robot is further developed every year by these student-teams. Several of the device parts have therefore been designed and built by the students themselves. For example the cable guides, Raspberry-Pi-boxes or the integrated camera support were designed with CAD-software and 3D-printed. Probably one of the most practical endeavours is the way the students have organized themselves as if in company departments. For instance, they have, in addition to the R&D teams, an organizations team, which handles the project and budget planning, purchasing, documentation, marketing, HR, etc.
The most important contact for the professors and their students is the Strategic Innovations Center of the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA). From there they receive requests for the Crawler and feedback about the current development work. The LKA would have an actual need of the Crawler as well. The commissioners would like to deploy it in terrorist situations as well in the threats of sharp shooters.
The Crawler is, however, not yet being manufactured. “At the forefront is the expansion and deepening of knowledge and the development of further understanding. The project should prepare students for complex assignments and work environment. The development of the project should thereby be a team effort. Ultimately, the project will be handled as a method of education, and therefore will not be developed by us to the point of mass-production-ready,” clarified Professor Leibl.
Regardless, electronics companies, such as PULS or Bosch Rexroth, show huge interest in the ambitious project and offer their support as sponsors.