Gerrit Folkertsma completed his BSc and MSc in Mechatronics cum laude at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He has been involved in autonomous (flying) robot research at the University of Twente, the company Clear Flight Solutions, and the MIT biomimetic robotics lab. He is currently employed at the University of Twente as a teacher of robotics courses, and is finishing his PhD research in the Robotics and Mechatronics group.
Technical universities, universities of applied sciences and other research&education institutions are involved in many autonomous robot projects. This includes development of RPAS for inspection and maintenance tasks, but also e.g. ground vehicles and water robots are born in research labs. Currently, most of this effort takes only place in those research labs, while the intended outcome is that these robotic systems can operate in our outdoors, everyday environment. However, because of regulatory and practical issues, the step to testing the developed systems in a realistic environment, is hardly ever taken. Examples of (semi-)autonomous robots developed at the University of Twente will be presented. From this, the need—or at least benefits—of a proper test centre is discussed. Finally, the idea of standardised test centres across Europe is explored.