The overall structure of the PAN-ROBOTS project management is illustrated in Figure 7. It consists of the project coordinator, the steering committee, the work package leaders and task leaders of the work packages. The aim of this structure is to have a simple management structure that can ensure transparency and smooth running of the project. Mainly three factors determine the project work:
- Work plan as described in the Technical Annex,
- European Commission and technical assistance represented by the project reviewers and
- Steering committee.
Ensuring that the project follows the work plan described in the technical annex is the main task of the project coordinator. Annual reviews and other contacts with EC also direct the project work. Steering committee makes decisions concerning issues on project work and possible disagreements. The coordinator implements these decisions either alone or through the work package leaders.
Coordinator, steering committee and work package leaders
The project coordinator will chair the PAN-ROBOTS steering committee and will be the management link between PAN-ROBOTS and the European Commission. The coordinator is responsible for:
- Technical Management – ensuring that project objectives are met and deliverables are prepared on schedule. Whilst individual WP leaders will be responsible for management of their own activities, the project coordinator will be responsible for overall monitoring of the work.
- Administrative Management – the day-to-day administration of the project, including communication, information filing, document preparation, the submission of deliverables and reports to the European Commission, and organizing Steering Committee meetings.
- Information flow and exchange – keeping all the partners fully informed about the project status, planning and all the other issues that are important for the partners to obtain maximum transparency for all parties involved and to increase the synergy and cooperation within the consortium. The coordinator is the contact point in terms of all information that has project wide relevance. The project website is maintained by the coordinator.
- Financial Management – the project coordinator will be the project link with the European Commission on all financial issues. He will administer the project financial plan and monitor partner expenditure against forecast. He will also administer financial statements and financial coordination between partners.
- Quality management – the project coordinator will follow the progress of the project, be responsible for monitoring deliverables, establish deliverable content quality and editing standards, and establish a Peer Review process to ensure the quality of deliverables. The project will be assisted by a Quality Manager to be nominated separately.
- Cooperation with partner projects – create links to partner projects and agree on technology demonstrations in collaboration with the partner projects.
- Define guidelines and targets for the dissemination actions. – the project coordinator will supervise all the dissemination actions, in order to establish a collaborative exchange between potential customers of a PAN-ROBOTS system and the project to ensure an exact match of the project’s objectives and the market needs.
The project coordination will be provided by SICK AG, Germany (SICK). The project coordinator will head the Project Office, which will be located at the SICK premises in Hamburg (visiting address: SICK AG, Merkurring 20, 22143 Hamburg, Germany). The Project Office will be the coordination centre of the project including financial administration and communication with the project partners via phone, fax and project’s Internet tools.
The PAN-ROBOTS Steering Committee (SC) will consist of the contractors so that each partner is represented. The size of the steering committee is thus six partners. The Steering Committee shall meet at least twice a year at the request of its chairperson or at the request of minimum two parties.
Steering committee will be the main meeting forum to assess project progress at both the strategic and the technical level. It will:
- Make strategic decisions and discuss project direction, partner changes, resource distribution, legal and ethical matters, and internal red flag procedures, and
- Make technical decisions based on WP leaders’ input and lead discussion on project direction.
The decision making process, responsibilities of coordinator, steering committee and WP leaders will be further defined in Consortium Agreement (CA).
PAN-ROBOTS will place work package management responsibility on Work Package Leaders, who have to coordinate the work regarding their respective work packages and deliverables. The leader of each work package will liaise with and is reporting to the project coordinator.
The major standard reporting includes the following:
Periodic management reports: The PAN-ROBOTS project coordinator will produce a report to the Project Officer every 3 months. It will contain following summary information: major achievements during the reporting period; major problems identified; deviations from the project plan; resources consumed during the period.
Periodic progress report: A progress report will be provided after every 12 months.
Final report: A final report will be provided at the end of the project phase. The final report will summarize the work achieved and indicate the intentions of the project consortium concerning the future exploitation of the product. The first draft of the final report will be distributed to the EC and reviewers two weeks before the final review.
Projects Officers from the EC will be asked to participate in the Kick-off meeting and Project Milestone Meetings.
The objectives of the quality control are to monitor the achievements and outputs of the project and its deliverables and to ensure that the project fulfills the criteria of an innovative project as described in the proposal. The quality manager is responsible for organizing the internal review of the deliverables.
The quality system of the project will be in accordance to the ISO 9001 standard and following this specification it will consist of the following chapters:
1. Requirements of the project,
2. Organizational structure of the project,
3. Coordination in between the partners,
4. General measures and actions taken,
5. Planning and control,
6. Control of the documentation,
7. Quality control of the project,
8. Files and archives,
9. List of quality forms to be used and
10. Internal Risk Management procedures.
Project Risk Management will examine and analyze potential risks for the identification of suitable contingency plans and fallback solutions. The risk management process will thus have the following steps:
- Control and
It will be performed at all management levels. Risk assessment will be done regularly at management meetings and together with key milestones.
Reporting of risks
The European Commission will be informed via the quarterly report, directly addressing the issue. A complete description of the identified risk will be provided including tangible counter measures and an estimation of the impact towards PAN-ROBOTS. Time critical risks which might have a strong impact on the project (e.g. one partner planes to leave the consortium) will be reported directly via the coordinator to the EC in a dedicated letter or email.
In the subsequent tables, the potential management and technical risks are listed. For each identified risk, an estimated risk level is given and an adequate counter measure is described.
Table: Management risks
foreseen management risk
One of the partners might (be forced to) withdrawal from PAN-ROBOTS.
The risk of withdrawal of individual partners in particular due to the current global economic situation is discussed within the consortium. Two partners are universities and one research institute which are quite independent from the global economic situation with regard to the work in PAN-ROBOTS. The financial situation of the three industrial partners is very well and there is a strong commitment to PAN-ROBOTS within their organization.
Some reason does not allow demonstrating the PAN-ROBOTS system at CAS’ factory under real life conditions.
Partner CAS is really committed in the project. For any unforeseen reasons that won’t allow the preparation of the test site in CAS, other final users among the ones who declared their interest in the project with the supporting letters (see appendix 2) will be selected to host the final test.
Table: Technical risks
foreseen technical risk
Omnidirectional stereo camera will not have adequate performance in the required time frame.
Most of the PAN-ROBOTS objectives are independent of the novel camera system. Therefore, the development of the PAN-ROBOTS system can be continued without the omnidirectional stereo camera. The system can be integrated at a later point in time to catch up with the complete system.
The design of a system, automatically updating the traffic management rules does not perform as required.
A semi-automated update of the traffic management rules will be foreseen as a fallback solution still decreasing the effort compared with current solution of completely manual update.
The developed 3D mapping system does not offer the required accuracy.
Additional sensors will be integrated to achieve the needed accuracy.
Onboard path planning requires too much processing power or does not lead to sufficient results.
In case the computation power is not high enough: a second processing board will be added to the AGV control system, which will work as slave computer for the computation of the path.
The required accuracy and performance to estimate the exact position of the target (e.g. pallet) for autonomous handling is not achieved.
Additional sensors will be utilized to enhance accuracy.
Contour based self localization of the AGVs does not provide the required accuracy for automated AGV operation.
Areas with the need of highest precision will be equipped with additional reflector landmarks. However, the number of reflectors will be still much smaller than nowadays.
Transfer of relevant object data via wireless communication from the control center to the AGVs does not perform as expected (e.g. the latency of the data is too high in order to be taken into account or the wireless connection is not stable enough)
New wireless approaches like in automotive will be used to reach the needed performance.
The subsequent sections provide a brief summary of the beneficiaries’ background, their main tasks within PAN-ROBOTS and their experience from previous EC funded projects. Each section will close with a list of key personnel involved in PAN-ROBOTS and their field of activities and expertise.