The next challenge will be held at ICRA 2016, in Stockholm, Sweden, May 2016.

Description Papers due 14 December 2015

According to the UN Mine Action Service, landmines kill 15,000-20,000 people every year (mostly children) and maim countless more across 78 countries. Demining efforts cost US$ 300-1000 per mine, and, for every 5000 mines cleared, one person is killed and two are injured. Thus, clearing post-combat regions of landmines has proven to be a difficult, risky, dangerous and expensive task with enormous social implications for civilians. Motivated by these considerations, the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS SIGHT) is inviting the academic and non-academic community to participate in the third Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC) at the 2016 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2016).

Following on the footsteps of the success of the HRATC Challenge that was held at ICRA 2014 in Hong Kong and ICRA 2015 in Seattle, this HRATC edition will continue to focus on promoting the development of new strategies for autonomous landmine detection using a mobile (ground) robot. The Challenge will take place in three phases: 1) Simulation Phase, 2) Testing Phase, and 3) Challenge Phase. The strategies developed by the participating teams will be objectively and quantitatively evaluated according to the following criteria: exploration time and environmental coverage; detection and classification quality; and landmine avoidance. Teams will be progressively eliminated after each phase and the remaining teams would move on to the next phase culminating in the Challenge (Finals) phase at ICRA 2016.

All teams will use the same robot, called FSR-Husky, that will be available before (for remote practice runs) and during the Challenge. Furthermore, participants will have access to a ROS-based simulator to develop and test their code before testing it remotely on the real robot.

How To Participate in the Challenge
All potential participants should submit a paper (1-2 pages) in the standard IEEE format including figures that describes the motivation and previous experiences/research (if any). The organizers will then evaluate this paper and an acceptance notification containing further steps would follow. All submissions should be sent to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>. The Challenge will take place remotely in Coimbra, Portugal, and beamed in real time to the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre during ICRA 2016. Necessary logistics and travel support will be provided depending on the number of qualifying teams.

More details on HRATC 2014 and HRATC 2015 can be found at and, respectively, and from following summary published in the IEEE-RAS Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM):
2015 Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge by Madhavan, R.; Marques, L.; Prestes, E.; Maffei, R.; Jorge, V.; Gil, B.; Dogru, S.; Cabrita, G.; Neuland, R.; Dasgupta, P. IEEE-RAS Robotics and Automation Magazine, Sept. 2015.

The IEEE RAS SIGHT is the first IEEE Society to have a SIGHT! The mission of RAS-SIGHT is the application of robotics and automation technologies for promoting humanitarian causes around the globe, and to leverage existing and emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity and towards increasing the quality of life in underserved, underdeveloped areas in collaboration with existing global communities and organizations. To engage the international community in these causes, RAS-SIGHT has been organizing Challenges and funding small projects centered on humanitarian causes.

See for more details.

The Challenge organizers thank the FP7-TIRAMISU project ( and Clearpath Robotics, Inc. for their support and partnership in organizing HRATC 2016.

Congratulations to the six RAS members elected by the membership to serve a three-year term beginning 1 January 2016. We wish the newly elected members of the Administrative Committee success and thank all candidates for their willingness to serve and for permitting their names to be included on the ballot.

AdCom Members Elected at Large:

antonelli pic1 1

Gianluca Antonelli
University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy



Peter Corke
Queensland University of Technology, Australia


AdCom Member from RAS Geographic Area 1 (the Americas):

Bill Hamel

Bill Hamel
University of Tennessee, (TN) USA


AdCom Members from RAS Geographical Area 2 (Europe, Africa, Middle East--IEEE Region 8):


François Chaumette
Inria Rennes, France



Carme Torras
Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC) Barcelona, Spain


AdCom Member from RAS Geographical Area 3 (Asia, Australia, Pacific Rim):


Max Q.-H. Meng
Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China


 posted 9 November 2015





Proposals due 10 December 2015!

Robotics & Automation (R&A) Technologies have the potential to transform and improve the lives of humanity by addressing the world's toughest challenges. The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society - Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS-SIGHT) is engaging the academic and non-academic community to propose viable solutions in R&A to address relevant world problems through several initiatives that include challenges in robotics conferences, funding projects, establishment of collaboration networks with academia, industry, and governments.

RAS is the first IEEE Society to have a SIGHT! The mission of RAS-SIGHT is the application of robotics and automation technologies for promoting humanitarian causes around the globe, and to leverage existing and emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity and towards increasing the quality of life in under-served, under-developed areas in collaboration with existing global communities and organizations. As an example of this initiative, RAS-SIGHT has organized two editions of the Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge at the 2014 and 2015 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). For additional information, see articles in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine: &

RAS-SIGHT envisions HRATCs as an unprecedented opportunity for technologists from around the world to collaborate using their skills and education to benefit humanity. The problems (challenges) are framed with the environmental, cultural, structural, political, socio-economic, and resource constraints so that solutions can be developed, deployed, and sustained.

In this vein, RAS-SIGHT is soliciting proposals that when implemented would improve the quality of life for the beneficiaries.
Some important points worth noting:
- The problem that you propose to solve should utilize robotics and automation technologies
- It is strongly encouraged that the solution be developed and deployed with active involvement from the community or the end-users that it is intended to benefit
- Sustainability beyond the completion of the project will be a key consideration

If you are interested, please submit a *4 page (max.) proposal* in the standard IEEE conference format ( outlining:
- the problem,
- the solution,
- related work, similar initiatives, and how the proposed project will achieve new results than what is currently available,
- proposed partnerships with existing initiatives,
- number of people who would be impacted,
- previous experiences, both in terms of research and deployment,
- project development timeline,
- a breakdown of anticipated costs, and how the funds would be used to support the project
- short biographies of project members (with URLs of your website)

We anticipate to fund 8-10 proposals in the US$2000-$2500 range.
*** Deadline: 10 December 2015 ***
*** Acceptance notification: 10 January 2016 ***
All submissions and questions should be sent to Raj Madhavan, Chair, RAS-SIGHT via email at <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.

posted 5 November 2015



The 36th edition of the "Guido Dorso Award" was presented to Bruno Siciliano on 15 October 2015 in a ceremony held at the Senate of the Republic in Rome by the Rector of University of Naples Federico II. Every year, the Guido Dorso Award recognizes fellows who have contributed their work to support the needs of development and progress of Southern Italy. Siciliano received the award for the section "University". Distinguished fellows from the political, economic and cultural world received the award in the past years, including two Nobel prizes.

PremioDorso Oct15 14

Fifty-six year old, professor of Control and Robotics at University of Naples Federico II and Coordinator of the Programme in Automation Engineering, Bruno Siciliano is the scientific director of PRISMA Lab, the Laboratory of Projects for Industrial and Service Robotics, Mechatronics and Automation in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.

Professor Siciliano coordinates a staff of 25 researchers including junior faculty, fellows, graduate students and post-docs from four continents. His group has participated in 15 projects financed by the European Union for a total funding of 8.5 million euro in the last 8 years. He has held representative positions within professional societies, including President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for 2008-2009. Professor Siciliano is the only European to be a Fellow of the three most important scientific associations in the sector of automation (IEEE, ASME and IFAC ) and has received numerous awards at national and international levels.

His research interests are in force control, visual control, bimanual manipulation, aerial robotics, coexistence between robots and humans, and service robotics. He has published 300 articles in journals and conference papers and 7 books on robotics; his book Robotics: Modelling, Planning and Control is one of the most adopted texts in the universities around the world and has been translated into Italian, Chinese and Greek. He is Co-Editor of the Springer Handbook of Robotics, which was awarded the highest award for scientific publishing: 2008 AAP PROSE Award for Excellence in Physical Sciences & Mathematics, and Award for Engineering & Technology. He has held 20 plenary lectures at international conferences and more than 100 invited seminars at foreign institutions, and has carried out an intense publishing activity.

Equally intense has been his activity to disseminate robotics and science to the general public. The results of his research have earned him numerous awards and hundreds of articles in national and foreign newspapers and magazines, as well as many appearances on radio and TV.

posted 3 November 2015



The IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS2015) was held 28 September – 2 October 2015, in Hamburg, Germany. Congratulations to the following winners - announced on 1 October.

IROS Distinguished Service Award
To recognize individuals who have performed outstanding service for the benefit and advancement of IROS.
Toshio Fukuda - "For his outstanding services in founding and supporting IROS conferences"
Tzyh-Jong Tarn - "For his outstanding services to IROS Advisory/Steering Committee and IROS conferences"

IROS Toshio Fukuda Young Professional Award
DSC 6654To recognize individuals in the early stage of their career, who have made an identifiable contribution or contributions which have had a major impact on the robotics field.
Rainer Bischoff - "For his technical contributions to the personal robotic assistant HERMES and his effort in uniting the European robotics community"



IROS 2015 Best Paper Award 
To recognize the most outstanding paper presented at the conference, based on quality of contribution, of a written paper, and of the oral presentation. 
Xin Alice Wu, Srinivasan Suresh, Hao Jiang, John Ulmen, Elliot Wright Hawkes, David Christensen and Mark Cutkosky
"Tactile Sensing for Gecko-Inspired Adhesion"

IROS 2015 ABB Best Student Paper Award
To recognize the most outstanding paper authored primarily and presented by a student at the conference, based on the quality of the contribution, of the written paper and of the oral presentation.
YuFeng Chen, Elizabeth Farrell Helbling, Gravish Nicholas, Kevin Ma and Robert Wood
"Hybrid Aerial and Aquatic Locomotion in an At-Scale Robotic Insect"

Best ICROS Application Paper Award
Sponsored by the Institute of Control, Robotics, and Systems (ICROS)
Nishanth Koganti, Jimson Gelbolingo Ngeo, Tomoya Tamei, Kazushi Ikeda and Tomohiro Shibata
"Cloth Dynamics Modeling in Latent Spaces and its Application to Robotic Clothing Assistance"

JTCF Novel Technology Paper Award for Amusement Culture
This award recognizes practical technology contributing to toys, toy models, and amusement culture.
Sponsored by the Japan Toy Culture Foundation
Gilad Refael and Amir Degani
"Momentum-Driven Single-Actuated Swimming Robot"

RoboCup Best Paper Award
Sponsored by the RoboCup Federation
Kegui Wu, Wee Sun Lee and David Hsu
"POMDP to the Rescue: Boosting Performance for Robocup Rescue"

posted 29 October 2015



Nominations are due 31 January 2016 for the 2017 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation. This is the most prestigious award presented by the IEEE in the field of robotics and automation and includes a medal and a $US 10,000 honorarium. IEEE TFAs are awarded for contributions or leadership in a specific field of interest of the IEEE and are among the highest awards presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

Visit for a description of the award criteria and instructions on submitting a nomination.

The 2016 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation will be presented to Raffaello D'Andrea "For pioneering contributions to design and implementation of distributed, cooperative robotics and automation systems for commercial applications." The presentation will take place at the Award Ceremony held during ICRA 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden from 16-21 May 2016.

posted 29 October 2015



The Deadline to vote is 21 October 2015!

RAS members are voting to elect six new members of the RAS Administrative Committee to serve 3-year terms beginning 1 January 2016. All RAS members (Graduate Student Members and above) have received voting instructions, the biographies, and statements of the candidates by email. RAS membership must be active as of 13 August 2015 to be eligible to vote. Members who do not have valid emails registered with the IEEE or have opted not to receive e-mail from IEEE, have received their election materials by post.

vote 2015 1

Click here to review the candidates' bios and position statements.

posted 15 October 2015



To foster the entrepreneurial spirit and to provide a platform to encourage researchers and practitioners to transition ideas and prototypes to commercializable products, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's Industrial Activities Board invited the robotics and automation community to participate in an Entrepreneurship Forum and Start-up Competition (EFSC) at the 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS'15) held in Hamburg, Germany on 1 October 2015. The event was intended to inspire, educate, enable, and empower researchers, students, young professionals, and anyone else who has the 'start-up bug' in starting companies of their own but is not sure of how to go about it.

After a rigorous review process, 12 finalists were selected to make their final 'pitches' in Hamburg. In an interim Coaching stage, the finalists were paired with an expert to fine-tune their presentation and ideas to present at the Finals, where they made a 5 min. presentation (followed by a 5 min. Q&A session) to a distinguished judging panel of from the industry, and academia. The presentations were judged based on the following seven criteria: business idea, customer benefit, competitive advantage, market analysis, management, traction, and financial concept.

The judges were IEEE and RAS Member Dominik Boesl (Corporate Innovation Manager, KUKA AG, Germany), Francois Boucher (Chief Business Development Officer, Kinova, Canada)IEEE and RAS Member Ryan Gariepy (CTO, Clearpath Robotics, Canada), IEEE and RAS Member Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos (Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Univ. of Minnesota, USA), Slawomir Sander (Bosch Robotics, Germany), IEEE and RAS Member Alin Albu-Schaeffer (Head of the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, DLR, Germany), and IEEE and RAS member Nicola Tomatis (CEO, Bluebotics, Switzerland).

The top 3 finishers of the first IEEE RAS Start-up Competition were:
Start up winner 1
IEEE and RAS Student Member Alvin Chen, from VascuLogic whose business idea was a portable, image-guided medical robot that improves the accuracy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of venipuncture by drawing blood and performing intravenous procedures in an automated fashion. 

Start up second place 1
IEEE and RAS Member Kenji Suzuki,  from PLIMES Ltd. whose business idea was social problem solving by dramatically enhancing Quality of Life of people with lower body paralysis or elderly people through the use of passive exoskeletons with smart mechatronics in personal mobility.

Start up third place 1
Francesco Maria Petrini
and Stanisa Raspopovic from SensArs Neuroprosthetics Sàrl whose business idea was SENSY, a unique device enabling amputees don't have feelings from their prosthesis to feel skin softness or a stone trampled during walking.


The three winners took home US$15,000, US$10,000, and US$5,000, respectively. All finalists were provided travel support of up to US$1250. Financial sponsorship provided by IEEE-RAS, IEEE, and KUKA is gratefully acknowledged.

More information on the Start-up Competition, the 12 finalists and their business ideas are available from


posted 14 October 2015



The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society's second standard, Robot Map Data Representation for Navigation, has been approved by the IEEE Standards Board for publication! RAS was the Sponsor of this standard, P1873 (

This standard defines a common representation for two-dimensional robot map data, including metric and topological maps. It is intended to facilitate interoperability among different navigating robots, extending their operational range and application areas by defining a recommended format for exchanging map data. This standard is expected to overcome the incompatibility among map data formats of the different software tools, easing re-use of existing software and integration of system components coming from different stakeholders.

The Working Group Chairs are Wonpil Yu (ETRI, Korea) and Francesco Amigoni (Politecnico di Milano, Italy). Congratulations to all WG members!


posted 21 September 2015



This year's joint Lunch with Leaders and Young Professionals Luncheon event aims at introducing the RAS Young Reviewer Program (YRP), a new initiative to provide the IEEE RAS students with sound practices in peer reviewing of scientific papers. This event hosts the RAS community's distinguished leaders:

Raja Chatila - RAS President, Fumihito Arai, Allessandro De Luca, Oussama Khatib, Ron Lumia, Kevin Lynch, Tony Maciejewski, Raj Madhavan, Allison Okamura, David Orin, Stefano Stramigioli, Satoshi Tadokoro, Jing Xiao
and three invited speakers
Nancy Amato, Seth Hutchinson, Wolfram Burgard

The Speakers will introduce and openly discuss the most salient challenges in peer reviewing of the scientific papers. Wolfram Burgard will talk on "writing skills" of the scientific papers. Seth Hutchinson will talk about "peer-reviewing" of the scientific papers. The session will be moderated by Nancy Amato, and will be followed by general discussions, offering multiple perspectives from leaders of the RAS about what it takes to be a leader in our profession.

The Luncheon will be held at IROS 2015 in Hamburg, Germany on September 30: Congress Center Hamburg - Hall 6
Advanced registration is required. The cost is $5 per lunch.
Click here to register


 About the Young Reviewer Program (YRP)

The Young Reviewer Program (YRP) aims at introducing Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) students and young professionals to sound practices in peer reviewing of scientific papers. To achieve this objective, student YRP members will be supervised by Senior Reviewers (SR) in regular RAS review procedures. In addition to such a mentor-mentee relationship, YR members will have the opportunity of attending webinars and online tutorials to further explore and improve their writing and reviewing skills. Once a certain level of expertise is achieved, the YR will graduate with an overall qualification grade.

It is important to note here that within the YRP, the timing and the quality of the review to be delivered to the Associate Editors (AE), will be monitored and certified by the SRs. In addition, YRP will apply multiple safeguards to maintain confidentiality in the peer review process.

To join the Young Reviewer Program, please register at

YRP Committee:
Arash Ajoudani (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Tamás Haidegger (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Seth Hutchinson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

posted 16 September 2015



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