The Croatian Diaspora

Diaspora Scientist to Help Boost Development of Robotics in Croatia

By 16 February 2019

Mirko Kovač, a Swiss national of Croatian origin, will spend a few days in Zagreb in late March when he will present a lecture on modern robotics which he is currently developing in Zurich. His goal is to boot the development of robotics in Croatia, reports Poslovni.hr on February 16, 2019.

Kovač will attend the conference on unmanned aerial vehicles, DroneDays, on March 26 and 27. He has already held several lectures in Croatia on future technology development and co-operation between robots and humans, primarily in the context of airborne robotics.

But now, for the first time, he will arrive as head of the new NEST Aerial Robotics Hub centre, which was established in Switzerland late last year. As the head of the Aeronautics Department of the Royal College in London, Kovač led the initiative to develop a new airborne robotics centre in Switzerland, in collaboration of the London-based college and the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials, Science and Technology (Empa).

The goal of Kovač’s latest project is to develop robots that can fly independently and safely among people and work on building maintenance. Kovač is one of the world's leading experts in the development of robots inspired by biology and living organisms. The initial models of his flying robots/drones will patrol, spot and repair minor failures in the buildings. Robots will fly among people and use similar technology as autonomous cars.

This is the so-called simultaneous location and mapping technology (SLAM), by which robots create three-dimensional maps of the environment they pass through, which enables them to navigate, control themselves and avoid obstacles.

Kovač's colleagues are working on the further development of autonomous drone technology. On the other hand, scientists from Empa contribute to the project with their knowledge about soft materials suitable for making robots that will fly near people.

After becoming an engineer at the University of Zurich, Kovač was further trained in robotics at Harvard and Berkeley. He received his doctorate on the robotics and then specialised in the development of small flying drones under the name of MAV, Micro Aerial Vehicles, also inspired by real organisms.

Kovač has confirmed that he is also participating in the international RoboCom ++ project, which aims to bring together the community of the world's best robotics experts. The project intends to create unique robots, designed on the basis of the scientific research of intelligence in nature, by 2030. The project is coordinated by the BioRobotics Institute Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna from Italy and includes 35 partner institutes from the most developed countries of the world.

Translated from Poslovni.hr.

More news on Croats abroad can be found in the special Diaspora section.

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