Little Helper

An Autonomous Industrial Mobile Manipulator Concept

By Mads Hvilshøj & Simon Bøgh
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This paper presents the concept “autonomous industrial mobile manipulation” (AIMM) based on the mobile manipulator “Little Helper” – an ongoing research project at Aalborg University, Denmark, concerning the development of an autonomous and flexible manufacturing assistant.


The paper focuses on the contextual aspects and the working principles of AIMM. Furthermore, the paper deals with the design principles and overall hardware and software architectures of “Little Helper” from a functional and modular mechatronics point of view, in order to create a generic AIMM platform. The design challenges faced in the project is to integrate commercial off‐the‐shelf (COTS) and dedicated highly integrated systems into an autonomous mobile manipulator system with the ability to perform diverse tasks in industrial environments. We propose an action based domain specific communication language for AIMM for routine and task definition, in order to lower the entry barriers for the users of the technology. To demonstrate the “Little Helper” concept a full‐scale prototype has been built and different application examples carried out. Experiences and knowledge gained from this show promising results regarding industrial integration, exploitation and maturation of the AIMM technology.

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