Dirk Wollherr

Carl von Linde Junior Fellow

Technische Universität München

Institute of Automatic Control Engineering (LSR)

Martin Buss

Focus Group
Cognitive Technology

Short CV

Dirk Wollherr is currently senior researcher and lecturer for the Institute of Automatic Control Engineering in the TUM Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. He received the diploma engineer degree in Electrical Engineering in 2000 and the Doctor of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from the Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany. From 2001-2004 he has been research assistant at the Control Systems Group, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. In 2004 he has been granted a research fellowship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) at the Yoshihiko-Nakamura-Lab, The University of Tokyo, Japan. From 2006-2008 Dr. Wollherr acted as General Manager of the Cluster of Excellence "Cognition for Technical Systems (CoTeSys)". Since 2005, he has served as a principal investigator, independent junior research group leader, and research area leader in CoTeSys. Furthermore, he has been active in dissemination, e.g. General Chair of the German "Robotik 2008" conference and Finance Chair of RO-MAN 2008, as well as in several EU projects, e.g. Robot@CWE, CyberWalk, and Movement. His research interests include automatic control, robotics, autonomous mobile robots, human-robot-interaction, and humanoid walking.

Selected Awards

  • 2009, Most Innovative Video Award of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence 2009 (IJCAI2009) for the video The Autonomous City Explorer
  • 2009, Finalist of the Best Video Award at the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2009) for the video The Autonomous City Explorer Project
  • 2006, Admission to the ProLehre-intensiv 2006, a two year intensive course on best practice in university teaching
  • 2004, Research fellowship by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

Research Interests

The vision of bringing robots into human life has been the driving force in Dirk Wollherr’s research. The long-term vision is to enable robots to act and interact on human terms in unknown and unstructured human environments. To this end, Dirk Wollherr focuses on three main research topics: First, autonomous navigation of mobile robots in densely populated environments like shopping areas, where dynamic motions of humans have to be taken into account when planning robot motions. In a second research thread, taking up findings from linguistics, a new systematically structured communication framework is being developed which mimics human communication patterns and produces natural and intuitive human-robot communication. A graph theoretic approach is used to verify plausibility of direction information and identify knowledge gaps. The third objective is to enable robots to dynamically manipulate generic objects without form closure, i.e. without firmly gripping the object. This especially involves smooth manipulation minimizing the collision impact by exploiting dynamic properties of the object and fusion of multiple sensor modalities.

Selected Publications

  • Bauer, Andrea; Klasing, Klaas; Lidoris, Georgios; Mühlbauer, Quirin; Rohrmüller, Florian; Sosnowski, Stefan; Xu, Tingting; Kühnlenz, Kolja; Wollherr, Dirk; Buss, Martin: The Autonomous City Explorer: Towards Natural Human-Robot Interaction in Urban Environments. Int J of Soc Robotics 1 (2), 2009, 127-140.
  • Klasing, K.; Althoff, D.; Wollherr, D.; Buss, M.: Comparison of Surface Normal Estimation Methods for Range Sensing Applications. Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2009.
  • Klasing, K.; Wollherr, D.; Buss, M.: Realtime Segmentation of Range Data Using Continuous Nearest Neighbors. Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2009.
  • Bauer, A.; Wollherr, D.; Buss, M.: Human-Robot Collaboration: A Survey. International Journal of Humanoid Robotics 05 (01), 2008, 47-66.
  • Lidoris, G.; Wollherr, D.; Buss, M.: Bayesian State Estimation and Behavior Selection for Autonomous Robotic Exploration in Dynamic Environments. Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2008.
  • Buss, M.; Beetz, M.; Wollherr, D.: CoTeSys - Cognition for Technical Systems. International Journal of Assistive Robotics and Mechatronics 8, 2007, 25-36.
  • Wollherr, Dirk: Online Posture Correction for Humanoid Walking Robots (Online Haltungskorrektur für humanoide Laufroboter). at - Automatisierungstechnik 54 (8/2006), 2006.
  • Wollherr, D.; Zonfrilli, F.; Nakamura, Y.: Active-Passive Knee Control for the Humanoid UT-Theta. Proceedings of the International Conference on Advanced Robotics, 2005.

Publications as TUM-IAS-Fellow


  • Barbara Gonsior, Christian Landsiedel, Nicole Mirnig, Stefan Sosnowski, Ewald Strasser, Jakub Zlotowski Martin Buss, Kolja Kuhnlenz, Manfred Tscheligi, Astrid Weiss, Dirk Wollherr: Impacts of Multimodal Feedback on Efficiency of Proactive Information Retrieval from Task-Related HRI. JACIII 16 (2), 2012, 313-326 more… BibTeX Full text ( DOI )
  • Rohrmüller, Florian; Wollherr, Dirk; Buss, Martin: MuRoCo: A Framework for Capability- and Situation-Aware Coalition Formation in Cooperative Multi-Robot Systems. Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems 67 (3-4), 2012, 339-370 more… BibTeX Full text ( DOI )


  • Gonsior, B.; Sosnowski, S.; Mayer, C.; Blume, J.; Radig, B.; Wollherr, D.; Kühnlenz, K.: Improving Aspects of Empathy and Subjective Performance for HRI through Mirroring Facial Expressions. 20th IEEE International Symp. on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), 2011 more… BibTeX


  • Althoff, D.; Althoff, M.; Wollherr, D.; Buss, M.: Probabilistic Collision State Checker for Crowded Environments. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2010 more… BibTeX
  • Mettin, U.; Shiriaev, A.S.; Bätz, G.; Wollherr, D.: Ball Dribbling with an Underactuated Continuous-Time Control Phase. Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2010 more… BibTeX