Converging approaches adopted by engineers, computer scientists and software developers have brought together niche skillsets in robotics for the purposes of a complete product, prototype or application. Some robotics developments have been met with criticism, especially those of an anthropomorphic nature or in a collaborative task with humans. Due to the emerging role of robotics in our society and economy, there is an increasing need to engage social scientists and more broadly humanities scholars in the field. In this manner, we can furthermore ensure that robots are developed and implemented considering the socio-ethical implications that they raise.

This call for papers supposes that more recently, projects have brought on board personnel with a multidisciplinary background to ask those all-important questions about “what if” or “what might be” at a time that the initial idea generation is occurring to achieve a human-centered design. The ability to draw these approaches into the “design” process, means that areas of concern to the general public are addressed. These might include issues surrounding consumer privacy, citizen security, individual trust, acceptance, control, safety, fear of job loss and more.

In introducing participatory practices into the design process, preliminary results can be reached to inform the developers of the way in which they should consider a particular course of action. This is not to halt the freedom of the designer, but rather to consider the value-laden responsibility that designers have in creating things for the good of humankind, independent of their application.

This call seeks to include novel research results demonstrated on working systems that incorporate in a multidisciplinary approach technological solutions which respond to socio-ethical issues. Ideally this IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (RAM) paper is complemented by a paper submitted in parallel to IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (T&SM ) that investigates the application from a socio-ethical viewpoint. 

Important Deadlines

01 May 2017- Paper Submission Deadline: 
10 July 2017- First Decision
15 September 2017- Revised Paper Submission
20 November 2017- Final Decision
March 2017- Publication

Guest Editors

Noel Sharkey (University of Sheffield)
Aimee van Wynsberghe (University of Twente)
John C. Havens (The Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems)
Katina Michael (University of Wollongong)

For more information, go to CFP: Socio-ethical Approaches to Robotics Development


The 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) will be held from 29 May-3 June 2017 at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. ICRA is IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's flagship conference and is a premier international forum for robotics researchers to present their work.

It is timely that Singapore is hosting ICRA in 2017, as the country strives to be a Smart Nation, one where people are empowered by technology to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives, and to support better living, stronger communities, and create more opportunities for all. The conference theme, "Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Real-world Solutions," underscores the need for innovative R&D talent, dynamic and goal-driven entrepreneurs and practitioners using robotics and automation technology to solve challenging real-world problems such as shortage of labour, an ageing society, and creating sustainable environments.

ICRA 2017 will introduce a new Robotics Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum, alongside an industrial forum, a government forum, an ASEAN & emerging country forum, and a public forum (ICRA-X) centred on the conference theme, in addition to plenary and keynote sessions, technical paper sessions, workshop and tutorial sessions, exhibitions, and robot challenges. We welcome researchers, engineers, students, industry, investors and people from all walks of life interested in robotics and automation to participate in this gala robotics event! The registration portal is open so it's now a good time to reserve the events and activities that you are interested in!

On Thursday, 19 January 2017, members of IEEE Robotics & Automation Society (RAS) participated in a career fair for middle, high school and undergraduate university students. It was hosted at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. The Change Agent Career Fair event was organized by Envision Experience and was part of their five-day Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit for students. The theme of the career fair was "Drones, Clones, and Genomes.” Daniel Lofaro, PhD, of George Mason University and PhD students Luis Guerrero Bonilla and Micheal Whitzer, and James Keller, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Laboratory in Philadelphia, PA, all IEEE RAS Members, represented IEEE at the event. The event was attended by more than a thousand students from all over the nation. Dr. Lofaro exhibited a variety of ground robots, including a mini-HUBO, humanoid robots from his lab, while the GRASP lab concentrated on drones with a variety of sizes and configurations. Most notably, GRASP exhibited the drone they are using in the ongoing DARPA Fast Light Autonomy (FLA) program. They presented video from recent flight tests and discussed the unique features of their design. The level of interest from the participating students was high and impressed the IEEE participants. Conversations ranged from suggestions for coursework, college admission advice, to a request for an extemporaneous tutorial on tensors! These students were sharp.

george mason presidential inauguration leadership summit

The Keynote speaker at the event was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai who was interviewed by her father.  Malala participated via satellite link while her father attended the event.  Other noteworthy speakers following Malala included presidential candidates Governor Martin O'Malley and Carly Fiorina.

In the evening Drs. Lofaro and Keller participated in an "Evening with the Experts", where undergraduate students had the opportunity to interview a variety of subject matter experts.  This event featured subject matter experts from the areas of the military, the State Department, the Peace Corps, Medicine, and Engineering.  The dinner event was organized where each expert had their own table and students had their choice of topics to seat themselves.  It was a very engaging event as students sought insight for their own projects and classwork.    

The IEEE RAS ICRA 2017 Broadening Participation (BP) Travel Grants program is an outreach effort to broaden the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) community by enabling participation at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) by RAS members who would otherwise not be able to attend. In particular, this program is for non-author faculty and post-doctoral researchers from developing countries (as defined by the IEEE) who do not regularly publish is RAS conference or other visible international conferences related to robotics and automation..

traveler 2The RAS BP Travel Grant program is designed to engage the participants with the RAS community at the conference. Each participant will be assigned a mentor from RAS who will introduce them to relevant researchers and RAS members. A networking event will be held at the beginning of the conference to introduce the participants to each other, their mentors, and other key RAS members. The participants will be included in the relevant RAS events during the conference, e.g., Young Professionals Lunch, WIE Lunch, and participants will be encouraged to participate in relevant workshops.


Travel awards will cover conference registration and partial reimbursement for lodging and travel. Reimbursements will be processed after attendance at ICRA 2017.


Application deadline: 1 February 2017
Awards Announced: 15 February 2017

The online travel grant application is available:

The application requests should include the following:

- Information about the applicant
- Resume/CV of the applicant to be uploaded to the system
- Statement about how participation will impact the applicant and their institution
- Letter of support from department head/chair (for faculty) and advisor (for postdocs)
- Letter of endorsement from local or regional IEEE RAS chapter, if applicable

If an applicant receives travel support, he/she must report at the conference site with a travel receipt and passport, participate in the engagement activities organized at the conference, and complete brief reports after the conference. Instructions regarding the reimbursement process will be available later.

For questions regarding the ICRA BP Travel Grants, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


As the IROS2017 submission deadline is on the horizon, please consider participating as a Senior Advisor in the Young Reviewers Program (YRP) of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).

Young Reviewers Program

The Young Reviewers Program  is intended to introduce young RAS members to the best practices in peer-reviewing of scientific papers, crucial for viability of any scientific communities, yet, systematic training for that is typically not provided. As a Senior Reviewer, you can give reviewing assignments to Junior Reviewers, and to oversee the review process in a mentor-mentee relationship. Accepting to serve will not increase the number of papers that you review. Only papers that you have already accepted to review (for IROS 2017) would be eligible for the YRP. In this way, we believe that there will be no net increase in your reviewing workload. The time you would normally spend writing a careful review would be invested instead in cultivating skills in a Junior Reviewer.

As a Senior Reviewer, you can contact a Junior Reviewer found from the YRP website here:
Assign to the Junior Reviewer one IROS paper that you have been asked to review and then work with the Junior Reviewer to perfect the review, which you will submit via PaperPlaza.

You may also ask competent members of your research group to join the YRP as Junior Reviewers and elect to work with them. Typically, a Junior Reviewer would be a doctoral graduate student or a post-doc, whereas a Senior Advisor would be the one who can be an academic advisor or a research supervisor of those Junior Reviewers. Reviewer applications will be evaluated by the YRP Chairs listed below.

Details of Eligibility and Procedure

Please join and sign up to the YRP website:

YRP Chairs

Arash Ajoudani (IEEE-RAS YRP Executive Manager - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Dongjun Lee (IEEE-RAS YRP Executive Manager -This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Seth Hutchinson (IEEE-RAS YRP Director - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

YRP Advisory Board

Marco Morales (IEEE-RAS YRP Website Manager)
Nancy Amato (IEEE-RAS Chair of EPSB)
Jing Xiao (IEEE-RAS Vice President for Member Activities)

Submit your application today!

The purpose of this award is to highlight and honor the achievements of the inventors with value creating ideas and entrepreneurs who propel those ideas into world-class products. This is a key element to the continuing success of robotics and automation today. Active infusion of innovation and entrepreneurship into technological advancement is regarded critical at this juncture to strengthen a healthy balance between research and practice as well as a healthy growth of industrial and commercial sectors in robotics and automation.

IERA logoThese achievements will be recognized in a specially organized IEEE/IFR Joint Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation, which is being held in conjunction with the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2017). The selected finalists will have the opportunity to present their story of the genesis of a successful innovative product in robotics and automation from its very inception to the final state of commercialization in a series of plenary lectures. The ultimate winner will be chosen by an evaluation board consisting of distinguished individuals from industry and academia. A prestigious plaque will be awarded to each finalist and a US$ 2,000 prize will be awarded to the winner.

Applications should describe the original work that has been translated into a commercial success. The application must include statements regarding:
- description of the innovation/product/application
- stages of the product genesis
- novelty/uniqueness of the product
- market analysis, economic viability and pathway for commercialization
- sustained competitive advantage
- current and future impact on and relevance to industry

DON'T MISS THE DEADLINE! Applications for the IERA Award must be submitted no later than 28 February 2017.

Call for Applications

Applications should not exceed a maximum length of 5 pages. Product descriptions and public relation material will not be accepted as an application. References and links to online material are permitted.

Submission of Applications
Please send as PDF document (< 6 MB) no later than 28 February 2017 (any time zone) to IFR Secretariat – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society recognizes and congratulates the following individuals for their outstanding accomplishments and service to RAS and the robotics and automation community. They will be honored during an award luncheon to be held at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA 2017) on 1 June at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding recipients!

RAS Pioneer Award

Paolo Dario - Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA), Pisa, Italy
"For pioneering the emerging area of BioRobotics, the science and engineering of integrating robotics with biology and medicine"

RAS George Saridis Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation

Vijay Kumar - University of Pennsylvania (PA), United States
"For his leadership in building institutions and in creating national and international programs to promote robotics and automation"

Peter B. Luh - University of Connecticut (CT), United States
"For exceptional vision and leadership in strengthening and promoting the field of automation science and engineering"

IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award

Nancy M. Amato - Texas A&M University (TX), United States
"For innovative leadership in the RAS Electronic Products and Services Board and in ICRA and IROS conferences"

RAS Early Career Award (Academic)

Conor Walsh - Harvard University (MA), United States
"For contributions to soft robotics and wearable technology for rehabilitation"

Sertac Karaman - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), (MA) United States
"For contributions to motion planning and control algorithms for robots and autonomous vehicles"

IEEE Inaba Technical Award for Innovation Leading to Production

Paulo Debenest, Michele Guarnieri, Shigeo Hirose - Hibot Corp, Japan
"For outstanding contributions to the application of robotics in the power distribution industry"

IEEE Robotics and Automation Award for Product Innovation

Clearpath Robotics - Christopher Bogdon
"Jackal Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV): A small 4-wheeled all-terrain robot with multiple payload capacity and open source software"

RAS Most Active Technical Committee Award

Technical Committee on Cognitive Robotics
Chairs: Giulio Sandini, Matthias Scheutz, Shingo Shimoda, David Vernon

RAS Chapter of the Year Award 

IEEE RAS Tunisia Chapter
Chairs: Nizar Rokbani, Adel Alimi

As we look forward to continued advances and successes for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) and the robotics and automation industries, and we would like to take a moment to thank the 2016 RAS Officers for their hard work and dedication. Without them, RAS would not being seeing the growth and impact that has been so evident in the past few years.

2016 RAS Executive Committee (ExCom) 

RAS 2016 ExCom

A huge special thanks must be given to the following RAS Officers serving on the 2016 Executive Committee (ExCom). They have worked tirelessly to provide additional benefits and services to RAS members and the industry:
l-r: Fumihito Arai, Erwin Prassler, Yasushi Nakauchi, Torsten Kroeger, Jing Xiao, Eugenio Guglielmelli, Satoshi Tadokoro, Ning Xi, Ron Lumia, Martin Buss


2016 RAS Administrative Committee (AdCom)

RAS 2016 AdCom

And we must also heartily thank those serving on the 2016 RAS Administrative Committee (AdCom). Without their dedication and commitment, RAS would not be one of the leading IEEE Societies!  (l-r front): Kazuhiro Kosuge, Erwin Prassler, Satoshi Tadokoro, Raja Chatila, David Orin, Dong Soo Kwon, Yasushi Nacauchi   (l-r back): Wolfram Burgard, Lydia Kavraki, Torsten Kroeger, Hong Zhang, Carme Torras, Fumihito Arai, Hong Qiao, Gianluca Antonelli, Jing Xiao, Nancy Amato, François Chaumette, Bill Hamel, Megan Emmons, Eugenio Guglielmelli, Max Meng, Toshio Fukuda, Seth Hutchinson, Ning Xi, Peter Corke, Kevin Lynch, Ron Lumia, Richard Vaughan, Brad Nelson, Martin Buss, Zhi Dong Wang


Best wishes to all of our Members and Friends for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!

Wednesday 11 January 2017 - 11:00 AM EST - Register Now!

The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems released the first version of its document, Ethically Aligned Design (EAD) on 13 December 2016. The document provides insights and recommendations from over one hundred global AI and ethics experts and is intended to provide a key reference for Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems (AI/AS) technologists to help them prioritize values-driven, ethically aligned design in their work.

Key Takeaways for Attendees:
1. The difference between Codes of Conduct and Applied Ethics/Values-Driven Design methodologies and how they work best together
2. How your organization can benefit by prioritizing end-user values for technology design in the algorithmic era ("Ethics is the new Green")
3. Why proactively aligning AI/AS design to human values and ethical principles will redefine innovation
4. How IEEE is prioritizing ethical considerations and how your organization can get involved

Join us on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 11:00 A.M. EST to discuss Ethically Aligned Design and The IEEE Global Initiative on a webinar featuring the following guests:
Raja Chatila - IEEE Global Initiative Chair and RAS Past President
Kay Firth-Butterfield - IEEE Global Initiative Vice-Chair
Konstantinos Karachalios - Managing Director, IEEE Standards Association
John C. Havens (Moderator) - IEEE Global Initiative Executive Director

Meet the Speakers

Raja Chatila, IEEE Fellow, is Director of Research at the French National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS), and Director of the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics (ISIR) at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France. He is also Director of the Laboratory of Excellence "SMART" on human-machine interactions.

His work covers several aspects of autonomous and interactive Robotics, in robot navigation and SLAM, motion planning and control, cognitive and control architectures, human-robot interaction, and robot learning, and to applications in the areas of service, field and space robotics. He is author of over 150 international publications on these topics. He is past President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (2014-2015) and member of the French Commission on the Ethics of Research in Digital Sciencesand Technologies (CERNA). IEEE Pioneer Award in Robotics and Automation.


k. butterfieldPanelist
Kay Firth-Butterfield is a Barrister-at-Law and part-time Judge in the United Kingdom where she has also worked as a mediator, arbitrator, business owner and Professor of Law. In the United States, Kay is Executive Director and founding advocate of AI Austin and an adjunct Professor of Law. She is a humanitarian with a strong sense of social justice and has advanced degrees in Law and International Relations. Kay advises governments, think tanks, businesses and nonprofit organizations about artificial intelligence, law and policy.

Kay co-founded the Consortium for Law and Policy of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Texas and teaches: Artificial Intelligence and emerging tech ologies: Law and Policy. She thinks about how AI and other emerging technologies will impact business and society, including how business can prepare for that impact in its internal planning and external interaction with customers and other stakeholders and how society will be affected by, and should prepare for, these technologies. She has a particular interest in AI and foreign policy and the use of AI to do good globally. Kay speaks regularly to international audiences addressing many aspects of these challenging changes.


k. karachalioPanelist
Konstantinos is an internationally recognized leader within the standards development and intellectual property communities and has extensive expertise in public policy, strategic planning, and the not-for-profit sector. His leadership efforts played a crucial role in the successful international cooperation between Germany and France in the areas of coordinated research and scenario simulation pertaining to large-scale nuclear accidents.

Following the success of these cooperative international endeavors, he joined the European Patent Office (EPO). Among the highlights of his career within the EPO are his creation and leadership of the EPO's International Academy, the Department of Technical Assistance to the Middle East and Africa, and the Bureau for Public Policy Issues, and his guidance and insights as the EPO's envoy to a number of United Nations organizations. As member of EPO's core taskforce for the "Scenarios for the Future" project, Konstantinos contributed to repositioning the techno-political stakes, reframing the way in which they are debated in the global arena, and initiating and coordinating strategic responses to the challenges raised by those discussions.

Konstantinos earned his Ph.D. in Energy Engineering (Nuclear Reactor Safety) and his master's degree in Mechanical Engineering for the University of Stuttgart.


John C. Havens is a regular contributor on issues of technology and wellbeing to Mashable, The Guardian, HuffPo and TechCrunch and is author of Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity To Maximize Machines and Hacking Happiness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World.

John was an EVP of a Top Ten PR Firm, a VP of a tech startup, and an independent consultant where he has worked with clients such as Gillette, P&G, HP, Wal-Mart, Ford, Allstate, Monster, Gallo Wines, and Merck. He is also the Founder of The Happathon Project, a non-profit utilizing emerging technology and positive psychology to increase human wellbeing.

John has spoken at TEDx, at SXSW Interactive (six times), and as a global keynote speaker for clients like Cisco, Gillette, IEEE, and NXP Semiconductors. John was also a professional actor on Broadway, TV and Film for fifteen years.

Don't delay! Nominations are due 15 January 2017 for the 2018 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation (TFA). This is the most prestigious award presented by 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.

RAS Medal Image 5 April

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

The 2017 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation will be presented to Oussama Khatib - Professor, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, California, USA - "For contributions to the development of robot control and human-centered and humanoid robotics, and leadership in the robotics community." The presentation will take place at the Award Ceremony held during ICRA 2017 in Singapore from 29 May-3 June 2017.

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