Large Scale Robotics

The Large Scale Robotics Team at ISYS works on solutions for problems occurring in the field of machines with large working spaces concerning the system's dynamics.

What we do

The use-oriented questions are dealt with in close cooperation with the respective industrial partner. In a first step, this requires to anaylze the system at hand and develop an appropriate representative model capturing the system's behavior. The characterizing parameters of the system need to be identified und subsequently, the models are validated by comparison of real measurements and simulation data. Based on these results methods of control engineering are applied in order to achieve automatization or enhance the efficiency, the precision, the safety or the comfort. Particular emphasis is placed on researching methods for active vibration compensation. Such vibrations occur in large structures due to progressing lightweight construction and due to an increasing demand for precision.

In this context, different theories of robotics, such as modeling the system, trajectory generation and tracking, model-based feedforward control as well as decentralized control, are put into practice within a broad field of industrial applications. Among others the topic of reference trajectory tracking of a tool (e.g. crane hook, rescue platform) is researched. Moreover, damping of structural vibrations or oscillating loads are of particular interest. Here, nonlinearities of the mechanical systems, the dynamics and nonlinearities of hydraulic actuators (popular in large scale robotics), structural flexibilities, the computational cost, and possibilities for porting on real-time capable hardware are considered. In cooperation with our project partners we develop control concepts from the theoretical idea towards product introduction.

Current Research Projects

  • Control-oriented dynamic modeling of top slewing tower cranes with structural elasticities
  • Feedback and feedforward control design for active sway damping by taking the structural dynamics into account.
  • Observer design for estimation of load sway and structural deformations
  • Further information
  • Modeling of the elastic turntable ladder and of the employed actuators
  • Data fusion for the reconstruction of the modes
  • Active damping of the vibrations with decentralized control
  • Fully automatized trajectory tracking of the rescue platform
  • Further information
Fire truck ladder
Picture of a telescopic handler by Liebherr
Telescopic handler by Liebherr
  • Modeling of the mechanical and hydraulic components
  • Coupling of the subsystems for the derivation of the entire system dynamics
  • Automated parametrization of existing functions based on the digital twin
  • Velocity control of the hydraulic actuators with trajectory generation
  • Development of automation functions and assistance systems
  • Further information
  • Path planning for tower cranes in a virtual environmental model of the construction site
  • Trajectory generation and hybrid control strategies of a spider crane and a tower crane
  • Design of a hook-mounted tower crane gripper system for automated load transportation
  • Further information
Elements of the cyberphysical construction platform
  • Development of a cyber-physical construction platform for (partly) automating assembly in construction
  • Tool center point control for a large-scale hydraulic manipulator with local sensors and precise absolute positions provided by an RTS (robotic total station) network
  • Smart teleoperation, wearable haptic interfac and assistance functions for human operators
  • Hybrid control of minicrane and tower crane or between two minicranes
  • Further information
  • Cooperative trajectory generation for a heterogeneous group of mobile manipulators for indoor construction tasks
  • Optimization-based and AI-supported approaches for adaptive decentralized trajectory generation
  • Development of an absolute positioning system
  • Creation of a digital twin
  • SLAM approaches for online monitoring of construction processes
  • Simulative and experimental validation for the construction of a stud wall system
  • Further information

Completed Research Projects

  • Reconstruction of the pendulum state for mobile harbor cranes
  • Path planning for luffing, turning and swing gear with teach-in operation for facilitated handling of general cargo or bulk cargo
  • Active damping of the swinging load
  • Functionality for a spectrum of crane types
  • Further information
Boom cranes
  • Recording and prediction of the heave motion based on sensor data fusion and dynamical models of the system
  • Trajectory generation in due consideration of the constrained dynamics of the actuators
  • Active control of the hoisting winch to compensate for vertical vessel motion
  • Further information
Offshore crane
  • Development of a servo-pneumatic flight simulator
  • Modeling and high precision control of a 6 degree of freedom motion platform
  • Motion cueing algorithm for a realistic simulation of forces and acceleration for the training pilot
  • Further information
  • Modeling of an innovative passenger accommodation system
  • Development of a damping concept to minimize vibration of the elevator cabin
  • Further information
  • Coarse assembly planning using Logic-Geometric Programming
  • Modeling abstractions of building systems in interaction with construction robotics for the analyses of structural states and constructive integrity
  • Modellpredictive control strategies for robotic construction
  • Further Information

Student's Theses

We are always looking for students, who want to contribute to one of our research projects through a bachelor's or master's thesis. The assigned subjects typically include but are not limited to:

  • Distributed-parameter and lumped-parameter modeling of mechanical and mechatronic systems
  • Methods of parameter and state estimation
  • Sensor fusion and signal processing
  • Methods of constraint and unconstrained optimization
  • Strategies for designing reference trajectories
  • Design and comparison of control strategies for the analyzed systems in due consideration and for the compensation of elastic deformations and vibrations

If you are interested in one of our projects and would like to get more information, or if you'd like to inquire about additional topics, please don't hesitate to contact us.


  • A. P. R. Lauer, O. Lerke, B. Blagojevic, V. Schwieger, O. Sawodny, Tool center point control of a large-scale manipulator using absolute position feedback, Control Engineering Practice, vol. 131, pp. 105388, 2023. doi:, url:, issn: 0967-0661.
  • J. Pradipta & O. Sawodny, “ServoFlight: pneumatically actuated full flight simulator”, International Journal of Fluid Power, 2016, doi:10.1080/14399776.2015.1127724
  • J. Pradipta & O. Sawodny, “Actuator Constrained Motion Cueing Algorithm for a Redundantly Actuated Stewart Platform”, Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, 2016, doi:10.1115/1.4032556
  • U. Schaper, C. Dittrich, E. Arnold, K. Schneider & O. Sawodny, “2-DOF skew control of boom cranes including state estimation and reference trajectory generation”, Control Engineering Practice, pp. 63-75, 2014, doi:10.1016/j.conengprac.2014.09.009
  • U. Schaper, O. Sawodny, M. Zeitz & K. Schneider, “Load position estimation for crane anti-sway control systems”, Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, 136, pp. 031013-031013-7, 2014, doi:10.1115/1.4026134
  • A. Pertsch & O. Sawodny, “Verteiltparametrische Modellierung und Regelung einer 60m-Feuerwehrdrehleiter”, at - Automatisierungstechnik, pp. 522-533, 2012
  • N. Zimmert, A. Pertsch & O. Sawodny, “2-DOF control of a Fire-Rescue Turntable Ladder”, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 20, 2012, doi:10.1109/TCST.2012.2185576
  • S. Küchler, T. Mahl, J. Neupert, K. Schneider & O. Sawodny, “Active Control for an Offshore Crane Using Prediction of the Vessel’s Motion”, IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, 16, pp. 297-309, 2011, doi:10.1109/TMECH.2010.2041933
  • S. Küchler & O. Sawodny, “Beobachtergestützte Prognose des Vertikalbewegung eines Schiffes”, at - Automatisierungstechnik, 59, pp. 502-511, 2011, doi:10.1524/auto.2011.0943
  • J. Neupert, E. Arnold, K. Schneider & O. Sawodny, “Tracking and anti-sway control for boom cranes”, Control Engineering Practice, 18, pp. 31-44, 2010, doi:10.1016/j.conengprac.2009.08.003
  • A. P. R. Lauer, O. Lerke, A. Gienger, V. Schwieger, O. Sawodny, "State Estimation with Static Displacement Compensation for Large-Scale Manipulators", Proceedings of the 2023 IEEE/SICE International Symposium on System Integrations (SII 2023), 2023.
  • A. P. R. Lauer, B. Blagojevic, O. Lerke, V. Schwieger, O. Sawodny, "Flexible Multibody System Model of a Spider Crane with two Extendable Booms", Proceedings of the 47th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IECON), 2021.
  • A. P. R. Lauer, N. Uchiyama, O. Sawodny, "Design and Experimental Verification of Two-Dimensional Rate Limiters in Trajectory Generation for Differential Drive Robots", Proceedings of the 1st Virtual IFAC World Congress, 2020.
  • A. P. R. Lauer, N. Uchiyama, O. Sawodny, "Online Trajectory Generation for Differential Drive Mobile Robots Using Multi-Dimensional Rate Limiters", Proceedings of the International Electronics Symposium, Surabaya, Indonesien, 2019.
  • F. Rauscher and O. Sawodny, "RLS-Based Adaptive Feedforward Control of Cranes with Double Pendulum Dynamics," 2019 IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics (ICM), Ilmenau, Germany, 2019, pp. 91-96.
    doi: 10.1109/ICMECH.2019.8722880
  • F. Rauscher, S. Nann and O. Sawodny, "Motion Control of an Overhead Crane Using a Wireless Hook Mounted IMU," 2018 Annual American Control Conference (ACC), Milwaukee, WI, 2018, pp. 5677-5682. doi: 10.23919/ACC.2018.8431170
  • Florentin Rauscher and Oliver Sawodny, "An Elastic Jib Model for the Slewing Control of Tower Cranes", IFAC World Congress 2017, Toulouse, France, IFAC-PapersOnLine, Volume 50, Issue 1, 2017, Pages 9796-9801, ISSN 2405-8963. 10.1016/j.ifacol.2017.08.886
  • J. Missler, T. Ehrl, B. Meier, S. Kaczmarcyk & O. Sawodny, “Modelling of a rope-free Passenger Transportation System for Active Cabin Vibration Damping”, 6th Symposium on Lift and Escalator Technologies, Northampton, United Kingdom, 2016
  • P. Schlott, F. Rauscher and O. Sawodny, "Modelling the structural dynamics of a tower crane," 2016 IEEE International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Banff, AB, 2016, pp. 763-768.
    doi: 10.1109/AIM.2016.7576860
  • M. Richter, F. Zeil, D. Walser, K. Schneider and O. Sawodny. "Modeling Offshore Ropes for Deepwater Lifting Applications", IEEE International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Banff, Canada, 2016.
  • M. Richter, K. Schneider, D. Walser and O. Sawodny. "Real-time Heave Motion Estimation using adaptive filtering techniques", IFAC World Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, pp. 10119-10125, 2014, doi: 10.3182/20140824-6-ZA-1003.00111.
  • M. Richter, E. Arnold, K. Schneider, J. K. Eberharter and O. Sawodny. "Model predictive trajectory planning with fallback-strategy for an active heave compensation system", American Control Conference (ACC), pp. 1919-1924, 2014, doi: 10.1109/ACC.2014.6859017.
  • J. Pradipta, K. L. Knierim & O. Sawodny, “Force Trajectory Generation for the Redundant Actuator in a Pneumatically Actuated Stewart Platform”, IEEE International Conference on Automation, Robotics and Applications (ICARA), Queenstown, New Zealand, 2015
  • A. Pertsch & O. Sawodny, “Modeling of Coupled Bending and Torsional Oscillations of an Inclined Aerial Ladder”, American Control Conference (ACC), Washington, DC, USA, 2013, pp. 4104-4109
  • J. Pradipta, M. Klünder, M. Weickgenannt & O. Sawodny, “Development of a pneumatically driven flight simulator Stewart platform using motion and force control”, IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Wollongong, Australia, 2013, pp. 158-163
  • U. Schaper, E. Arnold, O. Sawodny & K. Schneider, “Constrained real-time model-predictive reference trajectory planning for rotary cranes”, IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Wollongong, Australia, 2013, pp. 680-685, doi:10.1109/AIM.2013.6584171
  • P. Schlott & O. Sawodny, “Attitude Control for an Actuated Load Attached to an Overhead Crane”, IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Wollongong, Australia, 2013, pp. 668-673, doi:10.1109/AIM.2013.6584169
  • M. Wörner, M. Weickgenannt, S. Neuhäuser, C. Göhrle, W. Sobek & O. Sawodny, “Kinematic Modeling of a Hydraulically Actuated 3-SPR-Parallel Manipulator for an Adaptive Shell Structure”, IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Wollongong, Australia, 2013, pp. 1330-1336
  • P. Rapp, M. Weickgenannt, C. Tarín & O. Sawodny, “Valve Flow Rate Identification and Robust Force Control for a Pneumatic Actuator used in a Flight Simulator”, American Control Conference (ACC), Montreal, Canada, 2012, pp. 1806-1813, doi:10.1109/ACC.2012.6314702
  • P. Schlott & O. Sawodny, “Decoupling Control for a Gantry Crane With an Actuated Load”, IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA), 2012, pp. 1610-1615, doi:10.1109/ICIEA.2012.6360983
  • S. Küchler, J. Eberharter, K. Langer, K. Schneider & O. Sawodny, “Heave Motion Estimation of a Vessel Using Acceleration Measurements”, IFAC World Congress, Milano, Italy, 2011, pp. 14742-14747, doi:10.3182/20110828-6-IT-1002.01935
  • S. Küchler, C. Pregizer, J. Eberharter, K. Schneider & O. Sawodny, “Real-Time Estimation of a Ship’s Attitude”, American Control Conference (ACC), San Francisco, CA, USA, 2011, pp. 2411-2416, doi:10.1109/ACC.2011.5990612
  • U. Schaper, C. Sagert, O. Sawodny & K. Schneider, “A load position observer for cranes with gyroscope measurements”, IFAC World Congress, Milano, Italy, 2011, pp. 3563-3568, doi:10.3182/20110828-6-IT-1002.01456
  • S. Küchler & O. Sawodny, “Nonlinear Control of an Active Heave Compensation System with Time-Delay”, IEEE Conference on Control Applications (CCA), Yokohama, Japan, 2010, pp. 1313-1318, doi:10.1109/CCA.2010.5611119

Members of the Large Scale Robotics Group

To the top of the page