Human-robot collaboration for production environments- Call for Papers


Modern manufacturing companies are expected to quickly and efficiently adapt to production changes. Robotics has long been touted as the candidate solution for the required flexibility, although in many situations, full roboticization has either not been not economically viable or yielded all of the hoped for benefits. While robots have become faster, “smarter”, stronger, more accurate and reliable, challenges remain in adaptability, decision making and robustness to changing and uncertain situations.  To address these shortfalls and improve flexibility to fast production changes, future working environments will be populated by both humans and robots, sharing the same workspace. This scenario entails a series of issues and topics, such as safety, optimal tasks allocation and scheduling, learning and error recovery, which are still open questions for industrial settings. From a research perspective, the possibility for robotic manipulators to directly work alongside humans has stimulated a variety of novel research fields in recent years. From an industrial perspective, this newly available technology has been accepted by big manufacturing as well as small and medium enterprises. The most recent statistics indicate that the market for collaborative robots is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of near 60%, reaching 12 billion dollars in less than ten years.

ABBs Yumi Robot at Elektro Praga    Universal Robots UR10 at Paradigm Electronics

Image credits: ABB’s Yumi robot at Elektro-Praga (left) and Universal Robots’ UR10 at Paradigm Electronics (right)

This special issue will profile up-to-date results and novel advanced solutions in human-robot collaboration (HRC) with special emphasis on successful applications in many fields, including manufacturing, assembly and constructions sites. The topics of interest for paper submissions include, but are not limited to:

  • safety aspects of HRC, including injury assessment, safety monitoring and metrics, and safety control methods;
  • human perception, prediction and intention estimation;
  • sensing devices and situational awareness for HRC;
  • human-robot activity allocation and scheduling;
  • ergonomic aspects in HRC, including human augmentation devices;
  • interaction modalities in HRC;
    learning and transferring human skills to robotic manipulators;
  • ease of use of collaborative robots (programming);
  • mechatronic design of lightweight robots, including end-effectors;
  • incorporation of virtual reality tools in HRC;
  • and others …

Important Deadlines

1 August 2017 – Submission deadline
1 November 2017 – Notifications to authors by EiC 
15 December 2017 – Deadline for rebuttal
1 March 2018 – Notifications to authors by EiC
15 March 2018 – Final submission and forward to publisher 
June 2018 – RAM issue

Guest Editors

Elizabeth A. Croft portrait
Call for Papers- Human-robot collaboration for production environments
University of British Columbia
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Hao Ding portrait
Call for Papers- Human-robot collaboration for production environments
ABB Corporate Research
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Miao Li portrait
Call for Papers- Human-robot collaboration for production environments
Wuhan University
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Andrea M. Zanchettin  portrait
Call for Papers- Human-robot collaboration for production environments
Politecnico di Milano
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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 August 2017 - Paper Submission Deadline
01 October 2017 - First Decision
15 November 2017 - Revised Paper Submission
30 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

Deadline for Paper Submission: 01 August 2016 EXTENDED to 15 August

Publication Schedule: June 2017
First decision: 01 November 2016
Revised paper submission: 15 December 2016
Final decision: 20 February 2017

Surgical Robotics has the potential to transform surgery on a global scale.   As robotic devices get smaller, smarter and cheaper, the opportunities for surgical robotics get ever greater.  Miniaturisation permits access to anatomical structures that have not been previously operable; the enhanced intelligence of devices increases the range of low level surgical tasks that can be automated; the reduced costs associated with developing smart tools rather than traditional full-sized surgical robots significantly increases the potential reach of the technology.  In combination, these drivers are increasing interest in surgical robotics in academia, industry and hospitals.

This special issue will highlight some of the latest innovations in surgical robotics.   It will feature short-listed entries into the Surgical Robot Challenge - an annual international competition for surgical robotics.  This competition, held during the Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics, showcases the latest innovations in surgical robotics from around the world.  Each year, teams from leading research groups bring their surgical robots to London to demonstrate their innovations to prominent surgeons and pioneers of the field.  This year's competition takes place on 25 June 2016 as part of the first UK Robotics Week (

This call is open to all teams with short-listed entries for the 2015 and 2016 Surgical Robot Challenges.  Papers should follow the standard RAM guidelines.  A full peer-reviewed process will be utilised to select papers for the special issue. Submissions should be made through the RAM submission website by 01 August 2016.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

Surgical robot innovation, design and implementation - surgical robot hardware and software - novel clinical applications - early diagnosis and treatment - automation of low-level surgical tasks - new surgical robot platforms - next generation surgeon-robot interface - automated camera and tool control - tissue classification - continuum robots - surgical planning, navigation and simulation - safer/more effective/ cheaper/more accessible solutions - vision, cognition, actuation, machine learning - verification and validation - surgical robotics for global health - future trends - improved patient outcomes.

Guest Editors

Robert Merrifield
Imperial College London

Russell Taylor
The John Hopkins University

Guang-Zhong Yang
Imperial College London


Assistive robotic devices have the potential to improve human lives in countless ways. People with weakened limbs can use robotic exoskeletons to augment their strength while amputees can use powered prostheses to nonetheless successfully perform activities of daily living. People with more severe disabilities such as tetraplegia can use robotic wheelchairs to remain mobile or even use brain-computer interfaces to communicate with electronic devices without the need for any motion. All these technologies allow individuals with disabilities to live fulfilling, productive and happy lives despite chronic impairments.

This special issue will highlight some of the latest innovations in the development and evaluation of assistive robotics. It will feature ground-breaking work presented at the Cybathlon 2016, an international championship where athletes with disabilities competed in different disciplines while supported by cutting-edge robotic technology. The Cybathlon took place in October 2016 in Zurich and was preceded by a scientific symposium where new technological advances related to the Cybathlon were presented and discussed by leading experts and young researchers.

This call is open to all participants of the Cybathlon championship and symposium. Papers should follow the standard RAM guidelines. A full peer-review process will be utilized to select papers for the special issue. Submissions should be made through the RAM submission website by 1 February 2017.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

-       Brain-control interface hardware and software
-       Upper and lower limb prosthesis hardware and control
-       Assistive exoskeleton hardware and control
-       Powered wheelchair hardware and control
-       Functional electric stimulation
-       Novel evaluation methods for assistive devices
-       Impact of assistive technologies on human quality of life

Contributions are expected to present the main original functional and technical aspects of the assistive device implemented for the Cybathlon competition as well as the outcome of the experimental tests carried out before, during and after the competition in order to validate the proposed solution. A critical analysis of the results should be also included and discussed in the paper, so as to outline the potential impact of the proposed innovation in real-life scenarios.

Important Deadlines

Deadline for paper submission: 15 December 2016 1 February 2017
Publication Schedule: December 2017
First decision: 15 March 2017
Final decision: 1 July 2017

Guest editors

Domen Novak, University of Wyoming
Peter Wolf, ETH Zurich
Eugenio Guglielmelli, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma

Deadline for Paper Submission: 10 November 2014 - EXTENDED TO 10 December 2014

Publication Schedule: September 2015

There are a number of issues in robotics, related to performance measurement, methods for the objective comparison of different algorithms and systems, the possibility itself to replicate published results. 

We are now at a point where it is possible to give concrete directions for experiment planning, execution, and reporting, allowing objective performance comparisons and potentially affecting the content of obtained results, not only their 'production process'.  The key point to allow replication and comparison of results is having adequate data support: all the data necessary to repeat a given experiment. This will be the very first well-structured example of a publication in robotics, which will list a series of replicable and objectively measurable results.

Contributed papers reporting about experiments, benchmarking methods, challenges and competitions are solicited. They need to include results on real robots and be described in such a way to allow their replication. In particular challenges and competitions might be needed to compare intelligent or system level behaviors and capabilities. We seek papers on challenges and competitions describing real world events with real robots and designed as robotics ‘replicable experiments’.

Scope, Description and Information 
Contributions from ANY area of Robotics and Automation are sought, under the condition that they are ‘replicable’. The topics include but are not limited to: 
• Experiments in Robotics; 
• Benchmarking methods; 
• Challenges and Competitions; 
• Examples of Good Practice; 
• Evaluation of Experimental Robotics Work; 
• Relationship between benchmarking and replication of experiments with robots; 
• Comparison of experimental methodology in neurosciences/ neurophysiology and in Robotics; 
• Comparison of experimental methodology in neurosciences/ neurophysiology, in AI and Robotics; 
• Comparison of experimental methodology in Biology and in Robotics; • Success metrics in Robotics; 
• Well grounded experimental methods to compare artificial and natural systems, and their interaction 

Any application area of Robotics and Automation can be considered, such as: Aerial Robotics, Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics, Medical Robotics, Industrial robotics, Prosthetics and Exoskeletons, Wearable Robotics, Marine Robotics, and more. 

RAM allows the attachment of extended materials (e.g. datasets, software tools, experimental protocols, code and or hardware identifiers, open source software, open source hardware designs, etc.), accompanying the submission of a paper. Instructions on the preparation of this material can be found on www.ieeeras. org/ram/for_authors. Extended materials will appear side-by-side to the accepted paper in the electronic version of the Special Issue within IEEE Xplore.

Call for papers June 2014 
Submission deadline: 10 November 2014 - EXTENDED TO 10 December 2014
First Review: 6 February 2015 
Final Review: 20 May 2015 
Publication: September 2015

Guest Editors:
Fabio Bonsignorio, Institute of Biorobotics, Scuola Superiore S. Anna. Pisa, Italy and CEO and founder of Heron Robots. (Corresponding guest editor)
John Hallam, Maersk Institute, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
Angel P. del Pobil, Robotic Intelligence Laboratory, University Jaume I, Castellon, Spain.


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