The RAS Automation Cluster Holds its Inaugural Forum at ICRA 2023 on Pioneering Visions for a Sustainable Society

Held as part of ICRA 2023 in London, the inaugural RAS Automation Technical Committee (TC) Cluster Forum convened on 30 May 2023. This groundbreaking event, chaired by Birgit Vogel-Heuser and Angela Faragasso, brought together pioneers in the field of automation. The central theme of this forum was How can automation contribute to a livable and sustainable society in the future? Addressing this question is critical for the world to progress amidst rapid technological advancements.

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Figure 1. Birgit Vogel-Heuser chaired the 2023 Automation TC Cluster Forum, which featured discussions on how to envision automation for a sustainable future.

A future where operations are dominated by automation is not merely possible—it’s our current trajectory. The forum fostered comprehensive discussions on what society will look like in 2035-2050, resource limitations, social acceptance of autonomous systems, and the sheer scope of fields that automation could revolutionize.

The forum featured a distinguished lineup of speakers from academia and industry who shared their insights on topics including: automation in healthcare, agriculture, and smart buildings; the role of collaborative robots in logistics and manufacturing; human-centered automation; sustainability; and cloud computing. For more details and an in-depth look at the forum’s program, visit the website, where you can also download some of the slides presented during the event.

The RAS Automation TC Cluster plans to address many other pressing topics moving forward. One in particular concerns the usage, benefits, and potential risks of open-source software. By focusing on this topic, the Cluster aims to foster community inclusion in developing new, interconnected systems, and similarly, in defining interfaces to facilitate connectivity between legacy and proprietary systems.

The Automation Cluster looks forward to continuing to engage the RAS community in the future. The Cluster represents a fresh initiative by RAS to merge and coordinate TCs, which will create a more unified front in advancing automation research and applications. The Cluster welcomes feedback and contributions from the community; it hopes to foster an environment of collaboration and innovation.

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Figure 2. The audience at the 2023 Automation TC Cluster Forum was engaged and keen to explore the pivotal role of automation in shaping our sustainable future.

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