IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (IEEE RA-L) announces Special Issue

We are pleased to announce a Special Issue on "Control and Motion Planning for Nonprehensile Dynamic Manipulation".


The robotic manipulation problem aims at finding a set of suitable controls to lead the configuration of an object to a desired pose. However, can we do such an action only by grasping? In truth, thanks to the high dexterity of the human hand, a manipulation task can be achieved also in nonprehensile –the object is not grasped –and dynamic –dynamics is exploited to control the motion– ways.

The state of the art of robotic manipulation is still rather far from the human dexterity in the execution of complex motions, such as in nonprehensile dynamic manipulation tasks. This may reduce the opportunities for wide adoption of robots within human co-habited environments. Nonprehensile manipulation is considered as the most complex category of manipulation, requiring adhoc controllers and specialized hardware. Since the object is not caged between fingertips, the part is moved exploiting its dynamics, and it is possible to increase the workspace by throwing and catching the object. As examples, think of a juggler, or a pizza maker or even of a surgeon pushing away organs, arteries, or making sutures. In several industrial applications, it is not directly possible to manipulate the object through firm/fine/precise manipulation, therefore only nonprehensile manipulation is allowed (e.g., using vibratory platforms). In case of deformable objects, for instance, the related tasks become even more challenging. The control design must carefully take into account dynamic models of both the robot and the object, posing thus new challenges in high-speed sensing, motion planning and control.

This Special Issue aims at collecting the latest results achieved by the researchers working in motion planning and control of robots for nonprehensile dynamic tasks involving manipulation. Moreover, people working on hybrid and switching dynamical systems may find several points in common with the subjects addressed within the letters submitted to such Special Issue. The sought ambition is to provide the groundwork to stir the current idea of robot manipulation that is still too much conceived as simple pick-and-place applications. This might be the starting point within the research community to arise future discussions regarding possible expectations, open-topics, longterm goals and enhance collaboration among research teams.


The list of topics include, but it is not limited to:
- Nonprehensile dynamic manipulation
- Nonlinear control of hybrid dynamic systems
- Impedance and force control in robotic dynamic manipulation tasks
- Motion planning for nonprehensile robot manipulatioN

The Special Issue will cover both motion planning and control aspect to achieve the object manipulation in a nonprehensile way. Moreover, the shared connections with other similar control problems, like piece-wise smooth and impacting systems are welcome.


Special Issue Submission Opens: 20 July 2017
Special Issue Submission Closes: 30 July 2017
First Decision Communicated to Authors: 24 October 2017
Final Decision Communicated to Authors: 28 December 2017
Accepted RA-L Papers appear on IEEE Xplore: 16 January 2018


Fabio Ruggiero (Università di Napoli Federico II)
Vincenzo Lippiello (Università di Napoli Federico II)
Bruno Siciliano (Università di Napoli Federico II)


Papers are six-page long in two column IEEE format, including figures and reference. Up to two extra-pages (at fee) are allowed.
Links to multimedia material are welcome.
RA-L is an electronic-only journal. The final version provided by the authors will be rapidly posted on IEEE Xplore: submitted manuscripts will be either published within January 16, 2018 or rejected.


Please, start to prepare your material and be ready for the opening of the submissions (20 July 2017).

To submit the paper:
- Go the RA-L PaperCept site
- Log-in and select to submit a new paper to IEEE RA-L.
- Select our SI within the menu "Select the type of the submission".
- Follow the instructions to submit your material.

More information can be found at the following link:

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