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.

Autonomous Mobile Robots


This course is addressed to engineers and hobbyists who are interested in programming applications for a mobile robot to perform tasks in a complex environment. Throughout the course, practical exercises will be developed with realistic 3D simulations in the cloud.



Enrollment Deadline: 13 February 2017
Calendar: 6 February to 17 March 2017
Workload: 6 hours per week.

Professor: Gustavo Casañ Nuñez
Professor: Enric Cervera
Professor: Ricardo Tellez

For more information or to Register for this FREE course see:

DJI RoboMasters Mobile Manipulation Challenge

Team Registration Deadline: 13 January 2017

DJI initiated RoboMasters in 2015 as an educational robotics competition for students around the globe. The annual competition attracted teams who competed on building ground robots that used shooting mechanisms to battle with other robots, and the performance of the robots were monitored by a specially designed judging system. The competition is designed not only to entertain, but also to draw more attention from the general public to robotics. To encourage more participation in shaping the future of robotics, RoboMasters 2017 includes, as a special event, the ICRA 2017 DJI RoboMasters Mobile Manipulation Challenge.

This is a ground robot challenge that examines the application and competence of technologies that include positioning, object grasping, force control, target identification, and system stability. Teams are challenged to develop a lightweight mobile manipulator that can autonomously pick, transport and stack building blocks, and will compete on the bases of completion time and assembly height, while meeting the specified weight and size constraints on the robot.

The competition is suitable for researchers and students with interest and background in autonomous robotic platforms, intelligent navigation and manipulation technologies. The competition is open to everyone around the world regardless of age, nationality and academic qualifications. Participating teams are free to select the components and modules necessary for developing their own robot, and can opt for a RoboMasters mobile base. Finalists stand to win a cash prize and some of the latest innovative products from DJI.


Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge 2017

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 second Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC) at the 2017 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2017) to be held in Singapore.

Following in the footsteps of the success of the HRATC Challenge that was held at ICRA in consecutive years from 2014 to 2016, this fourth 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) Finals 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 2017. It should be noted that the teams do not need to purchase or build a robot instrumented with sensors or any of the accompanying software. Every team can participate remotely in each of the phases.


Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2017

The IEEE Robotics & Automations Society (RAS) Micro/Nano Robotics & Automation Technical Committee (MNRA) invites applicants to participate in the 2017 Mobile Microrobotics Challenge (MMC), in which microrobots on the order of the diameter of a human hair face off in tests of autonomy, accuracy, and assembly. Teams can participate in up to three events:
Autonomous Mobility & Accuracy Challenge: Microrobots must navigate within a grid of waypoints, fabricated or superimposed on the substrate. At the competition, each team will be given a list of waypoints to hit (targets), and waypoints to avoid (obstacles). The objective is to hit the most targets while avoiding the most obstacles, while moving as rapidly as possible.
Microassembly Challenge: Microrobots must assemble a planar shape out of multiple microscale components located in a confined starting region. This task simulates anticipated applications of microassembly for medical or micromanufacturing applications.
MMC Showcase & Poster Session: Each team has an opportunity to showcase and demonstrate any advanced capabilities and/or functionality of their microrobot system. Each participating team will get one vote to determine the Best in Show winner.


Soft Material Robot Challenge

Team Proposal Deadline: 15 January 2017
The Soft Material Robot Challenge invites participants from across the world to demonstrate their robots actuated using soft materials. This challenge provides an international platform to showcase soft robotics research and aims to promote research in the field of soft robotics and applicability to on?field competence. The challenge includes two categories, namely the soft component technologies challenge, and the soft robots speed competition.

* Soft component technologies showcase: Showcase newly developed soft robot technologies at Soft Component Technologies Challenge. Develop, demonstrate and document a new actuator, sensor or other component technology that advances the field of soft robotics. The entries will be judged for significance, originality, functionality and quality of documentation. The shortlisted entries will be required to demonstrate their prototype at the competition venue in ICRA 2017.

* Soft robots speed challenge: This section of the challenge aims to pick the fastest robot on land completely driven by soft actuators. The teams are required to abide by the following regulations in designing their robots:
- The robotic body should be made of soft materials. Robots which are completely driven by soft actuators are highly encouraged.
-The dimensions of the robot cannot be larger than 1m x 1m x 1m.
-Teams are free to use on?board or off?board power supply (bonus points for untethered robots ?robots with on?board power). Only inlet to 220 V power socket shall be provided. If a team chooses to use off?board power sources, all the wires/conduits connecting to the robot should be slack at all times during the run.

Please visit the respective challenge websites for detailed information on the challenge tasks, entry instructions, schedule, and rules.

Beginning in January 2017, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters will accept Special Issues proposals!

A Special Issue is proposed by one or more organizers, who upon acceptance by the RA-L Editorial Board, and under its supervision - will also act as Guest Editors. Quality standards and review procedures and schedule for papers published in a Special Issue are identical to those followed for all other IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. Guest Editors will prepare a lead Editorial article which will contain references to all Letters published in the Special Issue. Reciprocally, all Letters published in the Special Issue will have a reference to the Editorial article, which thus functions as a fulcrum for the electronically-published Special Issue. RA-L also encourages Guest Editors to submit a more extended survey paper containing a critical review of research work in the field.

For more information see:

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Autonomous Robot Ontology Study Group (AuR) invites your participation in the development of the autonomous robot ontology standard.

Why Get Involved

The IEEE published the  IEEE 1872-2015 standard for “Ontologies for Robotics and Automation” that provides a methodology for knowledge representation and reasoning in robotics and automation (R&A). The developed standard was even recognized by the White House in the National AI strategic plan (page 32)

The AuR is a subgroup of the IEEE Ontologies for Robotics and Automation Working Group. The AuR subgroup’s goal is to extend the core ontology for R&A, to represent more specific concepts and axioms commonly used in autonomous robots. The developed ontology represents the knowledge and reasoning needed to build autonomous systems that can operate in the air, on the ground and underwater. Over eighty active group members come from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, representing stakeholders in academia, industry, and governments.

Creating a standard for knowledge representation and reasoning in autonomous robotics will have a significant impact on all R&A domains, including knowledge transmission among autonomous robots and humans. This will result in improved autonomy of autonomous systems, which will have considerable impact on how robots interact with humans. As a result, the use of autonomous robots by humans will further benefit our society. Another remarkable aspect is related to enhanced integration capabilities this standard can forster, which will allow a smooth knowledge sharing among heterogeneous robotics systems besides the enhancement in the possibilities of cooperatively perform tasks.

Who Should Participate

The following professionals interested in robotics technologies are encouraged to participate:

  • Policy makers
  • Academic researchers
  • Developers, designers and engineers
  • R&A Industry experts

How to Participate

  • The AuR had a kick-off meeting at 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2016) in Daejeon, Korea.
  • The AuR will organize a workshop at the 2017 ACM/IEEE Conference on Human–Robot Interaction (HRI 2017) in Vienna, Austria, March 6–9, 2017.
  • If you wish to participate in the AuR Study Group, please contact Dr. Howard Li, ECE, UNB (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information. 

A Workshop Presented by the World Top Leaders
19 January 2017 -- Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan



Good Research, But I Regret that Your Paper is Rejected -- Why?
Eugenio Guglielmelli, RAS Vice-President for Publication Activities
Frank Park, Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Transactions on Robotics
Seth Hutchinson, Past Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Transactions on Robotics
Satoshi Tadokoro, RAS President


PROGRAM (tentative):

10:00 Opening
10:05 Open research challenges in Rehabilitation Robotics
Eugenio Guglielmell, Universita Campus Bio-Medico, Italy; RAS VP for Publication Activities
10:40 TBD
Nancy Amato, Texas A&M University, USA; RAS Chair of Electronic Products & Services Board
11:15 Robot Manipulation: Real-time Motion Planning and Hybrid Control
Torsten Kroeger, Google, USA; RAS Secretary
11:50 (Lunch)
13:20 Panel Discussion
14:20 (Break)
14:30 Enhanced Human Performance Assessment with Robotics and Computer Vision
Venkat Krovi, Clemson University, USA
15:05 Quality of Teleoperator (QoT) Adaptive Control for Telerobotic Operations
Ning Xi, University of Hong Kong, China; RAS President-Elect
15:40 "Intelligent" Interactions with Surprisingly Simple Robots
Richard Vaughan, Simon Fraser University, Canada; RAS AdCom
16:15 (Coffee Break)
16:30 TBD
Hong Qiao, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; RAS AdCom
17:05 TBD
Seth Hutchinson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; RAS AdCom
17:40 Autonomous Robotic Manipulation
Jing Xiao, Univerdity of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA; RAS VP for Membership Activities
18:15 Closing

For more information see:

Access: Center Hall, 2nd Floor, Large Meeting Room
Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University
(Nearest station: Sendai Subway Tozai Line, Aobayama Station)
Bldg. C01 in the following campus map

posted 21 December 2016



Warehouse robotic automation is attracting increasing interest. Robotics shows potential to impact logistics and efficient distribution of products. Prior successful commercial ventures, such as Kiva Systems, which was acquired and adopted by Amazon, have shown how the industrial landscape can quickly change through the adoption of emergent automation technology. An example task in this domain, which requires further development for successful adoption by industry, corresponds to picking and placing items from storage units, including shelves, bins, and boxes. This task is the focus of a robotics competition, the Amazon Picking Challenge (APC), which brings together multiple academic and industrial teams from around the world.

CASE 2016

The goal of this workshop is to bring together existing technologies and current needs for picking and transportation in warehouse automation. We provide industrial representatives the opportunity to describe their needs, and academic representatives to describe tools and capabilities that they can provide. More importantly, this workshop is an opportunity to get to know people interested in the are and foster collaboration to improve the state­-of-­the-­art in warehouse automation. We also give an opportunity to Amazon and Amazon Picking Challenge teams to describe learned lessons. We do this through a series of talks both from industrial and academic speakers, and a panel discussion to encourage interaction and discussion among participants.

Materials of the Workshop on Automation for Warehouse Logistics that was held at the IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE 2016) have been posted! 

There you will find videos of talks (both academic and industry), panel discussions, and summary videos from teams participating in the 2016 Amazon Picking Challenge.

For complete details and video recordings see:

Easy Links