T-ASE CFP: Special Issue on New Frontiers in Smart Factories: Smart Automation and Human-Robot Interaction


Recent events, such as the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, have shown the extreme importance of industrial  processes that are fully or partially automated, thus allowing the production and the work in (smart) factories during  events that can affect the production. In the smart factory, robots - which are becoming more and more advanced  and adaptive to the surrounding environment and to external stimuli and which have improved their mobility and  their learning capacity - can be employed in more difficult and demanding tasks such as quality control and process  automation. The deployment of Automation and Robotics and of I4.0 key technologies in smart disassembly,  recycling and enhancing waste materials obtained from production processes is radically changing the way to  conceive and manufacture products and at the same time it is enhancing workers’ safety and health conditions. 

The main objective of this Special Section/Issue is to present perspectives and recent, promising, research results  and industrial applications of different key technologies for smart automation and human-robot interaction. In fact,  human-robot interaction will become more and more preeminent in the future and workers are already  complementing and integrating activities of robots and vice-versa. In such a scenario, it is crucial to focus on how  the nature of work itself is changing, by involving the massive presence of collaborative robots and related  technologies. Understanding how Robotics and Automation are reshaping the job market is essential to contextualize  enhancements in the quantity and quality of jobs and launch new types of jobs, which will require revolutionary  education and training paradigms, emotional intelligence and new skills.  

The core topics to be addressed in this Special Section/Issue are (not limited to):  

  • Automation amid and post COVID-19;
  • Digital manufacturing; Human-Centered Automation; Anthropocentric robotic systems for Automation; • Smart Factories; Smart Automation; 
  • Networked and Collaborative Robotics; Industrial Robots; Service Robots; Consumer Robots; • Robotics and AI; Robotics in Automation; Robots for Logistics; 
  • AI tools, such as machine learning, deep learning, predictive analysis, etc., as well as novel mathematical  optimization methods intended to increase the planning, learning, and action-taking abilities of machines;  • Key technologies such as Robotics, Augmented Reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud  Robotics, etc., to develop solutions to supply materials and parts to the production site; store finished  products in warehouses; capture data generated by the production facility; store and analyze data generated  in real-time.  
  • Safe and intuitive interaction with workers and enhanced human-machine co-operation (Human-Robot  interaction);  
  • Wearable robots and exoskeletons; Characterization of worker’s gestures to evaluate the stress suffered by  their musculoskeletal system and new solutions to ease workers’ repetitive movements and relieve their  effort;  
  • Safety and efficient processes to reduce human hazard and the risk of human error; 
  • Precision, accuracy, and repeatability in Robotics; 
  • Eco-sustainability of industrial processes; Circular Economy and new manufacturing processes; • Ethics, Legal, Economic, and Social (ELES) aspects; and more.


Important Dates 

  • Paper submission deadline: 28 February 2021
  • Completion of the first review round: 30 April 2021 
  • Completion of the second review round: 31 May 2021
  • Final submission due: 30 June 2021
  • Tentative publication date: October 2021     


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