PeTRA - Person-transfer robotic-assistant

  Wheelchair on PeTRA transport system and mobile robot Copyright: © IGMR

Project State




Hospitals and care facilities are suffering from a massive shortage of nursing staff. The high workload of nursing staff is increased by patient transport (for example from an examination to the ward). During the patient transport the nursing staff is not able to provide actual care. Due to the lack of time patients are transported by default in a wheelchair or bed. It takes away the patient’s right to decide how they want to be transported. However, good care should focus on the patient.

PeTRA is intended to relieve the burden on nursing staff and free up time, thus contributing to good care oriented to the well-being of the individual.


PeTRA’s overall technical goal is to develop a robotic support system for the patient logistic – the PeTRA-System. The system consists of a collaborative mobile robot with a mounted collaborative lightweight robot arm. It offers the possibility to couple a wheelchair and walker or to support guided or free walking. This is intended to provide qualified care while relieving the burden on nursing staff.

Further scientific goals are to identify and analyze suitable scenarios and processes to integrate the PeTRA-system into daily care. Emerging questions of legal, ethical, social as well as ergonomic, economic and technical nature will be scientifically analyzed, evaluated and prepared for transfer into practice.


Activities of the IGMR

IGMR is mainly responsible for the development and implementation of a coupling system between the collaborative mobile robot and the modules: wheelchair, walker, and container. The different transport options offered to the patient by the PeTRA-system are intended to give back autonomy to the patient and respond to his or her needs. Furthermore, IGMR is designing a gripper for the collaborative lightweight robot arm. The gripper serves as an interface for interaction with the patient and environment.


KUKA Germany GmbH
Hochschule Karlsruhe
University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt
Universitätsklinikum Augsburg (de)
Barmherzige Brüder gemeinnützige Krankenhaus GmbH, München (de)
Martha-Maria Krankenhaus gGmbH, Nürnberg (de)


BMBF-Fördermaßnahme „Robotische Systeme für die Pflege“(de)

Field of Research

  • Human-robot-interaktion
  • autonomous robotic system
  • Robotic assistant/ Nursing-robot
  • Coupling mechanisms

Pictures of the PeTRA Project