ARTI: Robotic hiking with space data

Satellite and Earth observation data as the basis for robotic navigation in the wild - a start-up from Graz makes it possible
The founding team behind ARTI (fotoCRafie)

Imagine yourself wandering around in the Austrian wilderness, rich in mountains and forests. Suddenly you realize that you have lost your way. Fortunately, you can identify your goal, a mountain hut, in the distance. Because you are human and have excellent sensory organs, a powerful brain, good movement skills, acquired knowledge about landscapes, navigation and the correct behavior in the mountains, you can find yourself around and reach the shelter.

Now, imagine yourself being a robot carrying out transportation tasks in these environments. As a robot, you do not naturally own all the features listed above. Your orientation usually derives from available maps of the structured area around you. In addition, the environment you are used to move in is relatively flat. The chances you will make it to the mountain hut are rather low. The good news is there is help from "above" from space!

New tasks with the help of ESA BIC 

The ARTI team has dedicated itself to finding a solution by using satellite and earth observation data as a basis for robotic navigation in the wild. A complete AI control software consisting of several AI kits has already been developed for the navigation of autonomous mobile robots indoors. Now ARTI is aiming for the big world outside factory buildings. To realize this challenging task, ARTI acquired the support of the ESA Business Incubation Centre Austria.

Since February 2021 ARTI is part of this program. "This is a highlight and important milestone in ARTI's history. We are incredibly proud that our technological approach of using satellite and earth observation data for autonomous mobile robotics found the approval of the ESA BIC Austria!" says Konstantin Mautner-Lassnig, CEO of ARTI. He adds: "Making our technologies accessible for open terrain and applications outside the urban world is an important step towards new applications and possibilities. The support by ESA BIC Austria also enables us to take up rescue robotics as a topic again, a passion we've been having for a long time and a topic that has strongly shaped us as a team."

AI kits for forestry and rescue operations

The start-up ARTI was founded by four ambitious telematics and software development students from Graz University of Technology with great enthusiasm for and more than ten years of experience with autonomous robots and AI. In the meantime, they have successfully entered the market for software development for autonomous mobile robots and autonomise ground-based vehicles in all dimensions and for a wide range of applications. Already in the first two years, the team grew to 10 members. The ARTI team now focuses on the development of AI kits for application and market areas such as forestry, rescue operations (e.g. after earthquakes or floods), maintenance of alpine infrastructure (alpine pastures or ski slopes) or transport for alpine refuges.