Top robotics research institutions and labs in Turkey

Robotics is one of the most significant elements, accelerating the Turkish economy toward Industry 4.0. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), Turkey has over 12,500 industrial robots, with about half working in its automotive industry.

A global study conducted in 2018 shows that among the countries with advanced robotics where the average number of robots for 10,000 workers in manufacturing is 300, Turkey has only 19 robots, leaving a vast potential for robotics in manufacturing. Some of the top Turkish manufacturing companies with industrial robots in their assembly lines include Oyak Renault, Tofas Fiat, Ford Otosan, Otokar, Otoyol, BMC, Mercedes, Toyota, Hyundai, etc.

Interestingly, one of the very first humanoid robots, named RoboTurk, was designed and developed at Balıkesir University in Turkey in association with the Scientific And Technological Research Council Of Turkey (TUBITAK) in 2006. The first humanoid robot supported by the Turkish Government, RoboTurk, is the successor of two biped robots Salford Lady and Gonzalez, from the University of Salford in the UK.

In 2009, Turkey’s first dynamically walking humanoid robot, SURALP, was developed by Sabanci University in conjunction with TUBITAK. In 2011, the primary brain-controlled robot named Auriga was developed at the University of Cukurova.

Our previous post listed some of the top robotics research institutions and labs in Serbia. Today, we are glad to present the top robotics research institutions and labs in Turkey.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory (AIR) – Istanbul Technical University

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory (AIR Lab) at the Istanbul Technical University focuses on building intelligent systems by developing and applying artificial intelligence methods and algorithms since 2007. The laboratory is running several projects on intelligent robot/agent systems, and their main research topics include automated reasoning and planning for autonomous mobile robots, learning in mobile robots and intelligent agents, and cooperation in multi-robot systems.

AIR uses advanced vision techniques for scene interpretation, and the laboratory has advanced research facilities for both undergraduate and graduate studies. It also participates in RoboCup 3D Simulation League, one of the major leagues of RoboCup organization, held by the RoboCup Federation. The league provides an environment for multiplayer soccer games of two competing teams of simulated autonomous humanoid agents.

KOVAN Research Lab – Middle East Technical University

KOVAN Research Lab is a center for autonomous robotics research under the Department of Computer Engineering, Middle East Technical University (METU). Its research areas include cognitive robotics, swarm robotics, and computer vision.

The research on swarm robotics focuses on the development and implementation of distributed and scalable coordination algorithms, such as self-organized flocking, for mobile robots. The lab also works with mini unmanned aerial vehicles to develop similar coordination strategies. It actively participates in projects that develop artificial vision systems that can adapt to the environment to improve perceptual capabilities.

Cognitive Robotics Laboratory – Sabancı University

Cognitive Robotics Laboratory at Sabancı University is concerned with endowing robotic or software agents with higher-level cognitive functions that involve reasoning, perception, actions, collaborative task execution, etc.

Its research has mainly been on bridging the gap between high-level reasoning and low-level control, involving both theoretical and hands-on components. The lab has been working on several robotic applications, including manipulation planning, service robotics, cognitive factories, multi-path planning, and rehabilitation robotics.

Its research team consists of researchers from computer science and mechatronics engineering and has emerged from collaborations between Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Group and Human-Machine Interaction Laboratory. The area of research includes architectures for robot control, kinematic and dynamic modeling of robots, robot design, world maps, and localization, object recognition, manipulation and path planning, physical human-robot interaction (pHRI), AI planning, multi-path planning, sensing and monitoring, diagnosis, robotic learning, etc.