This chapter describes the first steps to take your robot into operation for the first time. Following the steps below allows you to confirm the integrity of the robot’s hardware and software and to test its basic functionality.
Accessories and Preparations¶
In the documentation supplied with the robot, you will also find the access data for your personal customer area on our website. Individual documents and information on customised adjustments to your robot as well as the configuration files of all relevant components as they were on delivery are stored there. If you use PlatformPilot, you can also download the GTK GUI for setting up the robot here.
In addition to the mobile robot, you will also find a wired charger, various small parts and some documentation in the transport box. You will need the master key, the wireless gamepad and the WLAN access point to start up your robot for the first time.
Unpack the access point and connect it to the power supply unit or to a USB port on your computer using the cable supplied. Optionally connect the access point to your company/home network via ethernet to enable internet access on the platform when needed.
The access point sets up an independent local WLAN network into which the robot automatically connects after start-up. The network name (SSID) and password can be found in the documentation supplied with the robot. You can connect to this network with any laptop and then communicate with the robot as described below.
The key is used to switch the robot on and off and to release the safety system. For the first tests, simply insert it into the key switch. For regular operation, however, the key should not remain on the robot but should be under the supervision of a suitably qualified and trained operator who is responsible for the safe operation of the robot.
The gamepad batteries have either been insulated or removed for transport to prevent premature discharge. Open the battery compartment on the underside of the gamepad and insert the enclosed batteries or remove the insulating tape from the batteries before closing the compartment again.
Depending on the type of batteries used and the transport route, the batteries must first be reinstalled and connected after unpacking the robot. The exact procedure for this is described in the Maintenance chapter of the manual of your robot.
If your robot uses LiFePO4 batteries, they may need to be woken up from transport mode, as explained here. In any case, LiFePO4 batteries must first be activated by flipping the rocker switch next to the charging socket. Only then can the robot be switched on.
Starting up and Moving by Joystick¶
A detailed description of the controls and LED indicators can be found here.
Before switching on the robot, unlock all emergency stop buttons by turning them. When the buttons are unlocked, a green band can be seen between the red mushroom button and the yellow base.
Turn the key switch clockwise to switch on the robot.
ROX and EMROX Robots¶
After a few seconds you will hear the fan of the on-board computer start up and a little later the LED strips around the platform will light up. The robot first performs a self-test and cycles through all available colours before switching to the regular status indication. As soon as the robot lights up constantly in green, it is ready for use.
MP and MPO Robots¶
The LCD will immediately light up, showing the basic status of the robot. After about one minute the display will show “Ready”. This means that the software has successfully started up and is able to communicate with all hardware components. You can find more information about the LCD here.
Please note that the MPO-700 and MMO-700 will perform a homing of the OmniDriveModules after start-up and before the robot is ready for operation. To do so all emergency stop buttons must be unlocked and the scanners’ safety fields must be clear of obstacles. All OmniDriveModules will slowly rotate around the vertical axis and then stop with the wheels facing outwards. The robot will stay in place during this procedure.
Now press any button on the gamepad. The green LED in the centre of the gamepad lights up briefly and indicates that a wireless connection to the robot platform has been established.
Depending on the control software the gamepad has to be set to the correct mode via the small sliding switch at its front.
- When using PlatformPilot please switch to
- For ROS please use setting
Press the blue X button to switch the robot to manual joystick mode. You can then move the robot using the two analogue sticks. The top right should button RB on the gamepad works as deadman switch. It must be pressed continuously for the robot to move.
- The left stick controls the translational movement, i.e. forwards and backwards movement on the Diff and Trike models, and movement in the plane on the omnidirectional Argo and Meca models.
- The right stick controls the turns, i.e. cornering and turning on the spot for Diff and Trike, and all superimposed turns at any time for Argo and Meca.
- On delivery, only the basic safety functions are active and only basic protective fields are configured. Depending on the environment, superstructure and speed, collisions are still possible. Please take appropriate care during your first driving attempts and adapt the safety configuration to your individual requirements as soon as possible!
- In joystick mode, predictive collision avoidance is not active and the safety system works purely reactively via the protective fields of the laser scanners. Automatic intelligent collision avoidance is only available in automatic mode.
Connecting the GUI¶
Connect your computer to the
neo-training network set up by the access point as described above.
The default IP addresses of your mobile robots are
192.168.0.50 for the first one,
192.168.0.51 for the second one, and so on.
Please see the documentation that came with each platform to get a definite answer. Open a web browser (we recommend Firefox) and enter
as the address.
This address will take you to the WebGUI integrated in PlatformPilot and give you an immediate overview of the robot’s status.
Shutting Down the Robot¶
ROX and EMROX Robots¶
To shut down your robot turn and hold the key in counter-clockwise direction. The LEDs will flash white to indicate that the shutdown signal has been detected. Hold the key in this position until the light stops flashing and turns to constant white instead. It will then slowly fade out until the robot switches itself off.
In case the robot uses LiFePO4 batteries and will probably not be used or charged for some time, please remember to deactivate the batteries as described here.
MP and MPO Robots¶
To shut down your MP or MPO robot turn and hold the key for at least 3 seconds in counter-clockwise direction until the LC-Display shows that the shutdown has been triggered. Depending on the model of on-board computer the robot may switch itself off before the countdown has finished or simply when reaching zero.
Important Basic Settings¶
Depending on the location and the network infrastructure to be used, various settings may need to be made directly in the operating system of the on-board computer. All Neobotix robots offer the option of accessing the on-board computer directly via monitor and keyboard/mouse. However, VNC remote access is often faster and more convenient.
Remote Desktop Connection (VNC)¶
Once the platform has booted and your computer is connected to the same WLAN network you can connect to the robot using a software tool. The Remmina Remote Desktop Client should already be installed on most Ubuntu distributions. When using Windows we have had good experience with TightVNC.
System Time and Hardware Clock¶
By default the hardware clock is set to UTC and the time zone is set to Berlin. If you operate the platform in a different time zone it is necessary to change the time zone.
In addition the system time should always be set correctly if possible, since otherwise some functionality may not work properly (when connecting to the platform from another PC).
Automatic network time synchronization is disabled by default because it can cause the platform to fail during operation.
In order to adjust the time, it is best to first set the system time (which is only temporary) using
Xfce Settings >> Time and Date
and then synchronize the hardware clock to the current system time as follows:
sudo hwclock -w