IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

2008 Spring AdCom Meeting Minutes 12:00-17:30, 22 May 2008 Room 107, Pasadena Convention Center



Excom+ Bruno Siciliano, Kazuhiro Kosuge, Frank Park, Ken Goldberg, Alicia Casals, John Hollerbach, Ian Walker, Alex Zelinsky, Peter Luh, Xiaoping Yun, Robin Murphy

Adcom Class of 2008: Pierre Dupont, Aude Billard, Hideki Hashimoto, Seth Hutchinson, Katsushi Ikeuchi, Kevin Lynch

Adcom Class of 2009 Hajime Asama, Ruediger Dillmann, Toshio Fukuda, Vijay Kumar, Jean-Paul Laumond, Roland Siegwart

Adcom Class of 2010 Peter Corke, Alessandro De Luca, Lynne Parker, Stefano Stramigioli, Shigeki Sugano, Satoshi Tadokoro, [Student member] Carol Reiley.


Part I - Intro. & Approval of Agenda & Past Minutes

1.1 Welcome and Introduction (Bruno Siciliano)

1.2 Introduction of IEEE Division X activities (Bill Gruver, Director Division X)

1.3 Approval of agenda and past minutes (Bruno Siciliano) Outcome: Minutes approved by all voting members in attendance (1 abstention)

Part II - Reports

Reports given by vice presidents and select committees chairs on annual activities and newly proposed initiatives of their respective boards and committees.

2.1 Member Activities Board (Alicia Casals)

2.2 Conference Activities Board (John Hollerbach)

2.3 Steering Committee for Technical Programs (V. Kumar)

2.4 Technical Activities Board (Ken Goldberg)

2.5 Publications Activities Board (Peter Luh)

2.6 Industrial Activities Board (Alex Zelinsky)

2.7 Financial Activities Board (Ian Walker)

2.8 Treasurer (Xiaoping Yun)

2.9 Electronic Products & Services Board (S. Stramigioli)

2.10 Awards Committee (David Orin)

2.11 Long Range Planning Committee (K. Kosuge)

-T. Fukuda pointed out that the previous IAB (VP Sukhan Lee) had been given 20K to make a technology roadmap, but that the project was never completed. Although the funds were returned, failure to even properly initiate the roadmap project sets an unfortunate precedent for the society.

Part III - Consent Agenda

MOTION (08-S-01)
Motion to increase RAS Distinguished Lecturer transportation budget from USD 10K/year to USD 15K/year.

Motivation: Since the number of distinguished lecturers was increased from 15 to 24, TAB requests a commeasurate increase of the DL travel budget from USD 10K to USD 15K.

Outcome: No objection, passed.

MOTION (08-S-02)
Motion to regularly hold annual GOLD events at CASE Conferences.

Motivation: To hold a GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) event (lunch or reception) at CASE, to match the ones currently being held regularly at ICRA and IROS. A budget of USD 5K per each of those events has already been approved. Since CASE is smaller, the budget request is USD 2K for a GOLD event at CASE.

Outcome: No objection, passed.

MOTION (08-S-03)
Motion to form a new technical committee on Robotics and Machine Learning.

Proposed Scope: Creating robots that autonomously acquire new skills and continually adapt to changes in their environment is an essential problem for both robotics and machine learning. Areas of research include

  • earning models of robots, task or environments
  • learning deep hierarchies or levels of representations from sensor & motor representations to task abstractions
  • learning of plans and control policies by imitation and reinforcement learning
  • integrating learning with control architectures
  • methods for probabilistic inference of task parameters from multi-modal sensory information (e.g., proprioceptive, tactile, vison)
  • structured spatio-temporal representations designed for robot learning such as low-dimensional embedding of movements)

Outcome: No objection, passed.

MOTION (08-S-04)
Motion to create a new technical committee on Maritime Robotic Systems.

Proposed Scope: The TC should cover several aspects of maritime robotic systems area, both for underwater and surface vehicles. The following is an illustrative list of research topics (in a marine robotics context) covered by the TC:

  • actuation and sensing systems
  • communication,
  • manipulation
  • interaction,
  • guidance
  • navigation and control aspects,
  • mission control systems
  • , localization
  • fault detection/tolerance
  • multiple coordinated vehicles
  • networked vehicles, etc.

Motivation: The world's oceans cover most of the earth's surface and have been critical to human development throughout history. The seas enable the transport of goods between nations and represent critical sources of food and other resources such as oil and gas. In the near term,we may soon see the emergence of offshore mining for metals as well as the exploitation of gashydrates. Our scientific understanding of the deep sea is expanding rapidly through the use of a variety of technologies. In the near future, sea floor observatories linked by fiber optic cables and satellites will return massive amounts of data from coastal and deep sea sites.

Today approximately 200 AUVs are operational, many of them experimental. However, they are maturing rapidly. Recently several companies now offer commercial services with AUVs. Consequently, the research community worldwide is putting a significant research effort into the development of underwater and surface autonomous robots. Thanks also to the effort of the Underwater Robotics TC, this year, at ICRA two sessions are explicitly labeled with the keyword underwater robotics. However, the gap between laboratory research and true open-water operation of maritime robots is enormous. A single TC, including research in surface robotics, i.e., in maritime robotic systems, could be of great help to the community.

Outcome: No objection, passed.

-Doesn't "marine robotics" specifically exclude freshwater robotics, since "marine" technically means "salt water"? [Lynch] (from Yahoo Dictionary) "Of or relating to the sea: marine exploration. Native to, inhabiting, or formed by the sea: marine animals. Of or relating to shipping or maritime affairs. Of or relating to sea navigation; nautical: a marine chart. "

MOTION (08-S-05) Motion to retire the following three technical committees following the first set of triennial TC evaluations:
TC-Prototyping for Robotics and Automation
TC-Manufacturing Automation
TC-Underwater Robotics

Outcome: No objection, passed.

MOTION (08-S-06)
Motion to approve the TASE budget as described in the supporting document presented by PAB VP Peter Luh.

Outcome: Moved to discussion agenda.

MOTION (08-S-07 )
Motion to require all technical conferences fully sponsored by IEEE RAS to use the IEEE concentration banking system.

Outcome: Moved to discussion agenda.

MOTION (08-S-08)
Motion to amend the by-laws to formalize the Conference Editorial Board as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. The Conference Editorial Board (CEB) is charged with reviewing papers for ICRA. The results of the review process are transmitted to the Program Chair of the corresponding ICRA for final decision on acceptance.

Section 2. Composition. The CEB will consist of an Editor-in-Chief (EIC), several Editors, and sufficient numbers of Assoicate Editors (AEs) to manage the paper submissions. The normal terms are three years, once renewable. The EIC will be chosen by the Steering Committee for Technical Programs (SCTP). The choice will be submitted to the Vice President for Conference Activities and the President of the RAS for confirmation. The Editors will be chosen by a committee of seven, consisting of the Associate Vice President of Conference Activities for the SCTP, the EIC of the CEB, the EICs of the Transactions and the Robotics and Automation Magazine, the VP of Publication Activities, and the VP of Technical Activities. The AEs will be chosen by the EIC, the Editors, and the Associate VP of Conference Activities of the SCTP. These choices do not require further approval.

Section 3. Meetings. The CEB will handle the paper review process for each ICRA through an appropriately chosen conference management software package. The CEB collects reviews and provides recommendations on acceptance, but does not make the final decision. The review results are transmitted by the EIC to the Program Chair of the corresponding ICRA, who then makes the final decision on acceptance.

Section 4. Reports. The EIC will make reports on the functioning of the CEB and of the progress and results of reviewing to each meeting of the SCTP.

MOTION (08-S-09) *
Motion to require future ICRAs to use the domain. The possibility of automatic generation of conference web pages under, for ease of archiving and linking to RAS databases, is to be considered. To this end, the EPSB is charged to develop the software system, and to present to the CAB for possible use at a future ICRA.

Background The standardized use of the domain will ensure archiving of ICRA web sites. The automatic generation of web pages for ICRA would provide a customizable template that will link to the society database and that will establish the web site. The EPSB is charged to develop such a system, and to present it to the CAB for evaluation.

Outcome: No objection, passed.

MOTION (08-S-10)
Motion to approve the list of society-sponsored conferences as prepared by Conference Activities Board (available at -> Consent Agenda documents)

Outcome: No objection, passed.

Part IV - Discussion Agenda

MOTION (08-S-11)
Summer schools should be planned based on formal requests by RAS members to the educational comittee, which will form a committee of RAS and IFRR members to select the school topic and location with a two-year lead.

MOTION (08-S-11-1)
AMENDMENT TO MOTION 08-S-11: That the administration of the program should be made transparent to members of the society. [Fukuda]

Outcome: Approved with a vote of 10 yes, 1 no, 5 abstained.

AMENDED MOTION (08-S-11-2) Summer schools should be planned based on formal requests by RAS members to the educational comittee. The educational committee will form a committe of RAS and IFRR members to select the school topic and location with a two-year lead. The administration of the program should be made transparent to members of the society.

MOTION (08-S-11-3)
To table the amended motion (08-S-11-2) and send it back to MAB for further discussion. [Fukuda]

Outcome: Approved with a vote of 17 yes, 0 no, 2 abstained

MOTION (08-S-12)
Future ICRA selection will be done no more than 5 years in advance by Adcom at its spring meeting held in conjunction with ICRA.


In the past several years, two ICRAs have been chosen per year on average, so that they are now committed out to 2015. The society has now received complaints from groups interested in hosting an ICRA that they have to wait too long before they are able to make a proposal. Such long advanced planning is probably not good for the Society. There is also the perception that ICRA selection is a closed process.

In the early days of the RAS, there were competitive presentations from different groups interested in hosting ICRA to the AdCom. The ICRA selection was then made by AdCom. This motion proposes to return to this practice.

It is proposed that future ICRA selection be done no more than 5 years in advance at the ICRA AdCom, and that an open call for proposals be issued 6 years in advance. The Conference Activities Board will narrow the list of potential sites to two at its Fall meeting preceding the spring AdCom meeting. AdCom will then select the ICRA after competitive presentations.

Outcome: Approved with a vote of 16 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain

MOTION (08-S-13)
To hire a half-time conference assistant for the Conference Board.
FRIENDLY AMENDMENT: to specify salary and benefits as part of the compensation package.

Outcome: 16 yes, 1 no, 1 abstain MOTION (08-S-14)
To require ICRA to use the SCTP-approved conference software. Other 100% RAS-sponsored conferences should be encouraged to use this software.

Outcome: 11 yes, 2 no, 4 abstain


  • IROS oversight requires coordination with IES [Fukuda]
  • Suggestion to renegotiate contract with PaperPlaza at IEEE level for more favorable rates. [CSG Lee]
  • Amendment to be enacted as a standing rule [question by Lynch]

MOTION (08-S-15)
To require all 100% RAS-sponsosred conferences to establish an IEEE concentration banking account, subject to IEEE clearance of all legal issues.

Outcome: 18 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain


  • The most common reason that conferences do not close on time is due not to the organizers, but rather to the IEEE concentration banking system itself [Fukuda]
  • The concentration banking system has been improved considerably. US sites are required to use IEEE concentration banking, foreign sites are urged to have both foreign and IEEE concentration banking accounts [Hollerbach]
  • Legal issues behind having two accounts need to be addressed [Fukuda]
  • Existing IEEE rules allow more than one banking account [Deluca]
  • RAS is in practice already doing this [Yun]
  • Friendly amendment on IEEE clearance of legal issues [Siciliano]

MOTION (08-S-16)
To approve 2009 TASE budget and subscription rates as follows:

  • Page budget: 800 (2008: 744)
  • EiC budget: $45,705 (2008: $67,815)
  • Member print: $50 (2008: $35)
  • Member electronic: $20 (2008: $15)
  • Member combo: $50
  • -Nonmember print: $550 (2008: $525)


  • Questions about financial viability and future/vision for TASE. [Fukuda]
  • State of TASE is sound [Luh]

TASE launched at a time where people are now going to online subscriptions. Proactive efforts are being made to meet Call for the previous question (proceed to vote) [Stramigioli]

Outcome: denied, discussion continued.

Outcome: 10 yes, 1 no, 7 abstain

Part V - New Business

5.1 New initiatives program: RAS initiatives program for 2009 will be terminated per President's prerogative (Siciliano). The mechanism for new initiatives will instead be directed through the existing Society boards as before.

5.2 Board meetings at CASE 2008 (23-26 August 2008, Washington, D.C.)

-CAB to be held on 24 August 2008 (in the past has been held over 1.5 days in San Francisco during the summer)

  • TAB is committed to this new date.
  • PAB is considering this option.
  • IAB is considering this option.

Comments: Conflict for Japanese academics (entrance examination), suggestion to hold the board meetings on August 23 to avoid conflict [Kosuge]

5.3 Next AdCom Meeting: Nice, France Thursday, 25 September 2008 12:00

5.4 Adcom attendance policy: reminder to adcom members that 3 consecutive absences without prior approval by the president requires (under the RAS constitution) a motion to consider removing the adcom member.

5.5 Meeting adjourned at 17:10