Congratulations to the following IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2017 award recipients! Winners were announced and honored during the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Awards Luncheon which took place on 1 June 2017 in Singapore.


ICRA CEB award for Best Associate Editors

Pierre-Brice Wieber, INRIA Rhône-Alpes, France
Yonghuai Liu, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom

ICRA CEB award for Best Reviewers

Jeannette Bohg, Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany
Cristina Garcia Cifuentes, Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany
Emmanuel Vander Poorten, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Changhyun Choi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA



Best Conference Paper small

IEEE ICRA Best Conference Paper Award

Probabilistic Data Association for Semantic SLAM 
Sean Bowman, Nikolay Atanasov, Kostas Daniilidis, George J.Pappas 




Best Student paper small

IEEE ICRA Best Student Paper Award

Autonomous Robotic Stone Stacking with Online Next Best Object Target Pose Planning
Fadri Furrer, Martin Wermelinger, Hironori Yoshida, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Daniel Kohler, Roland Siegwart, Marco Hutter




Best Automation Paper small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award in Automation

UAV-Based Crop and Weed Classification for Smart Farming 
Philipp Lottes, Raghav Khanna, Johannes Pfeifer, Roland Siegwart, Cyrill Stachniss




Best Cognitive Robotics small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award in Cognitive Robotics

Learning to Guide Task and Motion Planning Using Score-Space Representation
Beomjoon Kim, Leslie Kaelbling, Tomas Lozano-Perez




IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award on Human-Robot Interaction

Development of a Block Machine for Volleyball Attack Training
Kosuke Sato, Keita Watanabe, Shuichi Mizuno, Masayoshi Manabe, Hiroaki Yano, Hiro Iwata


Best Robot Manipulation small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award in Robot Manipulation

Analyzing Achievable Stiffness Control Bounds of Robotic Hands with Compliantly Coupled Finger Joints
Prashant Rao, Gray Thomas, Luis Sentis, Ashish Deshpande 





Best Medical Robotics small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award in Medical Robotics

First Demonstration of Simultaneous Localization and Propulsion of a Magnetic Capsule in a Lumen using a Single Rotating Magnet
Katie Popek, Tucker Hermans, Jake Abbott



Best Multi Robots small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award on Multi-Robot Systems

The Robotarium: A Remotely Accessible Swarm Robotics Research Testbed
Daniel Pickem, Paul Glotfelter, Li Wang, Mark Mote, Aaron Ames, Eric Feron, Magnus Egerstedt





Best Service Robotics small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award in Service Robotics

High-Precision Microinjection of Microbeads into C. Elegans Trapped in a Suction Microchannel
Masahiro Nakajima, Yuki Ayamura, Masaru Takeuchi, Naoki Hisamoto, Strahil Pastuhov, Yasuhisa Hasegawa, Toshio Fukuda, Qiang Huang 



Best Robot vision small

IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award in Robot Vision

Self-supervised Learning of Dense Visual Descriptors
Tanner Schmidt, Richard Newcombe, Dieter Fox

We are pleased to announce an IEEE Robotics and Autonomous Letters (IEEE RA-L) Special Issue on “Learning and Control for Autonomous Manipulation Systems: the Role of Dimensionality Reduction”
Please, visit the official webpage of the Special Issue at


The special issue presents a hot topic in robotic manipulation that is how to merge learning and control strategies to provide autonomy to robotic systems. This is a fundamental problem for robotic manipulation and it touches different functional system levels based on both visual and tactile perception and also affects the mechanical design of the robot parts that move and interact with the environment. The anthropomorphism contemplated in the mechanical design encourages the inspiration of learning techniques and control from the functioning of the human being. This implies the involvement of a large research community not only in the field of robotics but also the community of neuroscientists. The problem is highly multi-disciplinary, and different approaches from control theory, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, will be compared and possibly combined.


The topic of this Special Issue was the subject of a full-day workshop “Learning and control for autonomous manipulation systems: the role of dimensionality reduction”, organized at ICRA 2017 by the guest editors. The large attendance (among 80-100 participants), the quality of the speakers, and the relevance of the addressed topics of research have been key elements for the success of the workshop. The Special Issue wants to collect an even broader scope of contributions, and make them available in archival format.


Dimensionality reduction in anthropomorphic design
Mechanical and motor synergies
Perceptual and sensorimotor synergies
The role of dimensionality reduction in learning strategies
The role of dimensionality reduction in control strategies


Fanny Ficuciello(University of Naples Federico II)
Pietro Falco (Technical University of Munich)
Sylvain Calinon (Idiap Research Institute)


Special Issue Call Publication: 1 August 2017
Special Issue Submission Opens: 5 October 2017
Special Issue Submission Closes: 15 October 2017
First Decision Communicated to Authors: 9 January 2018
Final Decision Communicated to Authors: 15 March 2018
Accepted RAL Papers appear on Xplore: 3 April 2018

We are pleased to announce an IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (IEEE RA-L) Special Issue on "Aerial Manipulation".
Authors submitting their work to this Special Issue will have the opportunity to present their work at the forthcoming ICRA 2018 conference in Brisbane, Australia (see the details below).

Please, visit the official webpage of the Special Issue at

Motivations and Objectives

The introduction of aerial manipulation can be helpful especially in those industrial and service applications that are considered very dangerous for a human operator. For instance, think to a task of bridge inspection, high-voltage electric lines inspection and fixing-up, rotor blade repairing and so on. These tasks are both unsafe and expensive, since the performance of professional climbers and specialists is requested. An unmanned aerial manipulator might indeed assist the human operator in these jobs or, at least, in the most hazardous and critical situations. Grasping an object during the flight with a UAV (equipped with only a gripper) poses several problems due to the under-actuation of the aerial vehicle, its unstable dynamics, and the coupling effects given by the presence of the object. The bigger the carried payload, the bigger should be the capacity of the single employed UAV. However, the sole gripper is not enough to obtain a complete evolution from passive into active tasks of the unmanned aerial vehicles: mechanical structures mounted on the UAVs are then essential to perform more complex actions. Therefore, an aerial manipulator might be an efficient solution providing an aerial vehicle with the capability of performing dexterous manipulation tasks. Nevertheless, like the presence of a carried object creates coupling effects in the dynamic model of the system, a mounted robot arm provides even more issues since its dynamics depends on the actual configuration state of the whole system.

The Special Issue will thus cover several aspects spanning from the mechatronic design of novel aerial manipulator, to the use of sensors necessary to accomplish the sought tasks, and the use of motion planning and control techniques. This may also be a great opportunity to stir the current idea of aerial robotics that is too much conceived as simple inspection and sensing applications. Aerial manipulation is a great research challenge and this might be a chance to collect the most recent results of the field to enhance the autonomy requested to fulfill the addressed tasks.

List of Topics

The list of topics include, but it is not limited to:
- Control of aerial manipulators
- Control of UAV in contact with the environment
- Motion planning of aerial manipulators
- Perception in aerial manipulation
- Mechatronic design of aerial manipulators

Important Dates

- Special Issue Submission opens: 1 September 2017
- Special Issue Submission closes: 10 September 2017
- First Decision Communicated to Authors: 5 December 2017
- Final Decision Communicated to Authors: 8 February 2018
- Accepted RA-L Papers appear on IEEE Xplore: 27 February 2018

Guest Editors

Vincenzo Lippiello (Università di Napoli Federico II)
Fabio Ruggiero (Università di Napoli Federico II)
Anibal Ollero (Universidad de Sevilla)

Organization of the Submitted Papers

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 27 February 2018 or rejected.

Submission of the Papers

In order to submit the paper:
- Go the RA-L PaperCept site
- Log-in and select to submit a new paper to IEEE RA-L.
- From the drop-down menu, select "Submission for RA-L and ICRA Special Issue on Aerial Manipulation"
- Follow the instructions to submit your material.
More information can be found at the following link:

Information about IEEE RA-L + ICRA 2018

All the information about the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters can be found at the following link:
To recap, the scope of this journal is to publish peer-reviewed articles that provide a timely and concise account of innovative research ideas and application results, reporting significant theoretical findings and application case studies in areas of robotics and automation.
All the papers submitted to such RA-L Special Issue will undergo a regular RA-L review. Results of the first review round by the Letters Editorial Board will also be used by the ICRA 2018 Editorial Board, which will decide the program of the Conference. Notice that the final decision on publication on RA-L and presentation at the Conference are completely independent. More details about RA-L submission with conference option can be found at the following link:
The International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's flagship conference and is a premier international forum for robotics researchers to present their work.

ICRA 2018 will be held on 21-25 May 2018 in Brisbane, Australia:

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society is seeking qualified recipients for our presitgious awards!

The Nomination Deadline is Tuesday, 1 August.


Who are the Leaders in the robotics and automation field? Who should be honored with a prestigious IEEE RAS Award? Consider nominating them! But hurry, the deadline for IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Award nominations is midnight (US EST) 1 August 2017.

Details for each award, including eligibility, nomination requirements and lists of previous recipients, may be found at

Erwin Prassler (B-IT and Vice President of IEEE RAS for Industrial Activities)
Arturo Baroncelli (Comau and Former President of IFR)

Since the first edition at ICRA 2005 in Barcelona, Spain, the IEEE/IFR Award for Invention and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation has become one of the most renowned non-scientific awards in the robotics community, and has attracted more and more applications in every year. It’s uniqueness is also due to the fact that it is a joint award given by the robotics industry, represented by IFR the International Federation of Robotics, and the robotics research community represented by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. The award is a vital demonstration that robotics industry and research do work together very successfully.

The competition for the 2017 edition of the IERA Award was remarkable in terms of the number of applications as well as in their quality. A jury composed of three members of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and three members of the International Federation of Robotics finally selected the following four finalists:

  • Marco Hutter, ANYbotics AG, ANYdrive: A modular joint actuator for advanced interacting robots
  • Jody Saglia, Movendo Technology s.r.l.: Hunova - an easy to use and intuitive medical device
  • György Cserey, OptoForce Ltd: Sensing flexibility - 3D force and 6-axis force/torque sensors for industrial robotic applications
  • Steve Cousins, Savioke: Relay autonomous delivery robot

The finalists had the opportunity to pitch their business idea at ICRA 2017, Singapore, to the jury and to the large audience of ICRA participants.

IERA 2017 recipient small

The winner by unanimous decision:
Steve Cousins, Savioke: Relay autonomous delivery robot


All finalists have the opportunity to describe their business idea in the next edition of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. The 2018 edition of the IEEE/IFR IERA Award, which will be renamed the IEEE/IFR Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation, will be organized by IFR during Automatica and ISR 2018.

2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS'17)
Vancouver, Canada
24 - 28 September 2017

Entrepreneurship Forum and Start-up Competition (EFSC) 2017
26 September 2017


To foster the entrepreneurial spirit and to provide a platform to encourage researchers and practitioners to transition ideas and prototypes in robotics and intelligent systems to commercializable products, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) is inviting the robotics research community to participate in an Entrepreneurship Forum and Start-up Competition (EFSC) at the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS2017) in Vancouver, Canada.

The event is 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. We also believe that this event will create an
ecosystem that will provide the much-needed support for start-ups to launch their initiatives while being realistic about their envisioned ideas and products.

EFSC at IROS'17 will consist of three stages:
- In the first stage, submitted applications will be down-selected to arrive at a pool of qualified applicants based on a defined set of criteria developed by the organizers (see 'Application Form' information below).
- This will be followed by a remote stage where the selected applicants will be paired with coaches based on the proposal content and the expertise of the coaches. The coaches will then provide critical feedback and technical and professional assistance to refine the
idea/product pitches.
- The final stage would allow for the refined pitches and content to be presented in front of a distinguished panel of industry and academic experts who have successfully funded, transitioned and have experience in commercialization of robotics and automation technologies.


Anyone with an idea utilizing robotics and/or automation technology that has reached a proof of concept level is welcome to submit an application provided that the entity is 1) less than 3 years old, and 2) has not received any funding from angel investors or venture capitalists in the last 5 years.


Interested applicants should complete the Application Form available for download from:
Please email completed forms to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We anticipate travel support for all qualified applicants invited to IROS'17 (~$1500/team) and awards for the top 3 finishers (pending funding approval at the time of this Call). Qualified applicants will further receive a free mini-booth in the IROS'17 exhibition area
for an interactive presentation of their product (idea).


Submission of Application Forms: 24 July 2017
Announcement of Selected Applicants: 18 August 2017
Final Presentations at IROS'17: 26 September 2017


Erwin Prassler (H-BRS, IEEE RAS VP for Industrial Activities)
Dominik Boesl (KUKA AG)
Jianwei Zhang (U. Hamburg)

2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2017)
24-28 September 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

IROS Logo V2 cropped

You are cordially invited to contribute abstract-only submissions to IROS 2017. Similar to the Late-Breaking Results posters at previous IROS’s, abstract-only submissions are one-page in length with a streamlined acceptance-decision process, and they are presented at the conference as posters. This component of the conference technical program is intended to reach out to the broader robotics research community, and the submissions are not peer-reviewed. Although accepted abstracts will be included in the conference proceedings, since they are not considered as publications, they will not be submitted to IEEE for inclusion in the Xplore database.

Under the theme of Friendly People, Friendly Robots, IROS 2017 particularly welcomes submissions that address technological challenges in developing friendly robots that can work effectively with, for, and around people. As always, we also invite submissions in all areas of intelligent robots and systems, their components, and applications.

Important Dates

15 July 2017 - Submission deadline (extended)
18 July 2017 - Notification of acceptance decisions
1 August 2017 - Final submission
24-28 Sept 2017 - Poster presentation IROS 2017 in Vancouver


To submit, please visit

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society's Conference Activities Board (CAB) is seeking proposals for organizing/hosting the 2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), which will be held in North or South America. All proposals and documentation must be received by 1 August 2017, with the intention of discussing proposals during the 24 September 2017 CAB meeting held during IROS 2017 in Vancouver. Two-three Proposals will chosen to evaluated in person at ICRA 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. The final decision will be made after presentation to CAB, followed by a presentation and vote by the RAS Administrative Committee on 26 May 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.


Proposals must be submitted online here:
eadline: 1 August 2017

An ICRA checklist has been created. Proposals should address as many of the topics as possible:

For more information, please refer to

Questions? Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine is soliciting nominations for two new Associate Editors, with a term beginning January 2018. The Associate Editors play an important role in maintaining the caliber of the magazine by ensuring the quality of published articles by implementing reviews of technical features according to IEEE guidelines, soliciting interesting and topical material articles for publication in the magazine, guiding the overall direction of the publication and providing feedback from the readership through e-mail conversations, teleconferences, and twice-yearly in-person meetings held in conjunction with IEEE RAS International Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA) and the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).


Associate Editor terms normally consist of a one-year probation period followed by two years of additional service if performance is satisfactory. Applicants should have a strong technical background and excellent English language skills.

Nominations should include a resume (not to exceed three pages), previous experience with publications as a reviewer or in other capacities, and areas of technical expertise. Please submit nominations as a single pdf file to Amy Reeder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Deadline is by 1 September 2017.


These RAS-funded projects shall create good educational materials in wide variety of RA science and technologies for broad users including young students who are beginning to learn this area and top-class researchers/practitioners/educators who need the newest deep knowledge. The developed material will be distributed worldwide at RAS webpage, IEEE Press, conference tutorials, robot competitions and/or exhibitions.


As a leader in the field of robotics and automation, IEEE RAS is expected to provide good educational material to its members and general public. However, RAS does not have enough volume of such contents, except for excellent books and conference tutorials. The
new RAS webpage has no contents for education by which people can learn robotics and automation.

Examples of Contents

The projects can create some of the followings but not limited to
- open contents/courses for every RAS members (scientific/technical specialists);
- open contents/courses for general public (outreach, school teachers, children);
- material on webpage, by PDF books, multimedia contents, paper books, or whatever;
- for developing countries and regions as well as advanced countries and regions;
- for free, or partially sold by IEEE;
- may be translated into several languages (EN, CN, ES, FR, DE, KR, JP, ...); and/or
- any other contents to contribute RA education.


IEEE RAS will fund about 10,000 USD for each project for one year or multiple years. In 2014, five projects were accepted. In 2015, five projects were accepted. In 2016, four projects were accepted. In 2017, four projects were accepted. Up to five projects will be accepted in 2018. The approved project can use the budget for webpage, assisting student work, translation, meetings, travel, etc. on the basis of the proposer's budget plan with following the IEEE financial rule. A project of multiple years can be accepted, if the reason is clear.


RAS Technical Committees (TCs), RAS MAB Education Committee (EC), or groups endorsed by TC or EC are eligible to submit a proposal. The proposal should state the following in no more than five pages:
(1st Page)
title of proposal; names and affiliations of the corresponding proposer and the group members; name(s) of TC or EC; executive summary of the proposal; way of distribution (webpage, books, etc.)
(2nd - 5th Pages)
scope (purpose, area of technical fields, target zone of education, ...); goal (contents, courses, materials, cost, ...); exams for checking the success; schedule (action plan, development process, ...); budget plan; and short CVs of the corresponding proposer and some of major members.


The proposals of project in 2018 should be submitted by e-mail to RAS VP for Technical Activities, Fumihito Arai <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> by 30 June 2017. All the proposals will be reviewed by RAS Technical Activity Board (TAB) CEMRA Project Review Committee consisting of anonymous senior reviewers without conflict of interest. Note that this RAS initiative is planned to continue for five years in 2014-2018.

Final Project Review

The final results of accepted proposals will be reviewed on the basis of the exams stated in the proposal. All the created materials will be displayed at RAS sponsored conference (ICRA or CASE or IROS) next year. The financial report must be submitted by the deadline specified by TAB.

Important Dates

Proposal Due for 2018 Projects: 30 June 2017
Presentation for 2018 Projects: TAB at IROS2017 in Vancouver, Canada

Easy Links