Women in Robotics Panel

Carlotta Barry
Rose-Hulman Institute

of Technology, USA


Katie Driggs-Campbell
University of Illinois

Urbana-Champaign, USA


Cecilia Laschi
National University of Singapore



Iolanda Leite 
KTH Royal Institute

of Technology, SWEDEN


Shawna Thomas
Texas A&M University,USA


Karinne Ramirez-Amaro
Chalmers University of

Technology, Sweden


RAS Standards Meeting will be held virtually on 27 October 2020 9:00am-11:00pm EDT

The IEEE Standards Association under the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) is reviewing the proposal to establish a Study Group, Semantic Map for Autonomous Robots (SMART), to investigate the feasibility of creating standard for common representation of semantic map data for robots and validation under common parameters, with the goal of enabling robots to be more intelligent, and be able to plan and execute high level robotic tasks within real-world environments.  

The SMART Study Group will investigate the potential for standardizing semantic map data model, data representation and data formats to express the relation among the data model entities. The data model expresses cognitive information about the environment of various types of robots equipped with artificial intelligence in the form of a global map containing local maps and transformation through the absolute and relative coordinate system. The standard data format permits the exchange of information among the mobile robots in a standardized method. Moreover, the standard contributes to promote development of experimental methodologies for mobile robotics as a valuable tool for facilitating comparison, benchmarking, and evaluation of semantic maps obtained from different systems.

The expected benefits of the established standard for semantic map data representation will facilitate various robotics applications such as autonomous robot navigation, factory logistic systems, industrial and agricultural robots, defense and rescue robots, and service robots for domestic application.   


The advent of robot-assisted surgery has consistently improved the outcome of surgical procedures by providing more effective and precise medical interventions. Hence, in recent years, autonomous systems in robotic surgery have attracted growing research interests in an enormous scope of applications. Concurrently to the growing needs and requests of sophisticated mechanisms that can help, enhance the medical procedure and in some extent replace the medical practitioners, concerns related to the safety of completely autonomous surgical robotic systems have emerged during the years. Hence, how to integrate advanced designs, modeling, perception, learning, control, and cognition, which involve the highest levels of the imaginative ability to bring the multi-information together and create novel solutions, is an effective way to enhance the level of autonomy of intelligent surgical robotic system and it is becoming an inspiring and promising subject which aim at improving the performance of
robotics surgery. However, there are still many challenges and problems related to safety of autonomous robotic surgical systems and their integration with the medical team which can be tackled only by developing more advanced robotic solutions.

”Bridging the Gap Between Soft Robots and Soft Materials: Discovering New Material Functionalities vs. Creating Architected Compliance”


The Deadline to vote is 12 November 2020!

RAS members are voting to elect new RAS Administrative Committee members to serve 3-year terms beginning 1 January 2021. All RAS members (Graduate Student Members and above) have received voting instructions, the biographies, and statements of the candidates by email. RAS membership must be active as of 15 August 2020 to be eligible to vote. Members who do not have valid emails registered with the IEEE or have opted not to receive e-mail from IEEE, have received their election materials by post.

election vote button

Use https://eballot4.votenet.com/IEEE to access the ballot and cast your vote now. If you do not remember your password, you may retrieve it on the voter login page. Voting must be completed no later than 12 November 2020. Any returns received after this date will not be counted. The online voting site will close at 4:00 pm Eastern Time.

Candidate bios and position statements are here: https://www.ieee-ras.org/about-ras/governance/election-candidates

If you have any questions about the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society voting process, please contact ieee-rasvote@ieee.org or +1 732-562-3904.


We are pleased to offer you the September 2020 issue of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine!

Miniaturized Robotics: The Smallest Camera Operator Bot Pays Tribute to David Bowie Olivier Lehmann, Jean-Yves Rauch, Youen Vitry, Tibo Pinsard, Pierre Lambert, Michael Gauthier
Collaborative Surgical Robots: Optical Tracking During Endovascular Operations Christoff M. Heunis, Beatriz Farola Barata, Guilherme Phillips Furtado, Sarthak Misra
Sewing up the Wounds: A Robotic Suturing System for Flexible Endoscopy Lin Cao, Xiaoguo Li , Phuoc Thien Phan, Anthony Meng Huat Tiong, Hung Leng Kaan, Jiajun Liu, Wenjie Lai , Yanpei Huang, Huu Minh Le, Muneaki Miyasaka, Khek Yu Ho, Philip Wai Yan Chiu, Soo Jay Phee
Toward Autonomous Driving by Musculoskeletal Humanoids: A Study of Developed Hardware and Learning-Based Software Kento Kawaharazuka, Kei Tsuzuki , Yuya Koga, Yusuke Omura, Tasuku Makabe, Koki Shinjo, Moritaka Onitsuka, Yuya Nagamatsu, Yuki Asano, Kei Okada, Koji Kawasakii, Masayuki Inaba
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Based Hazardous Materials Response: Information-Theoretic Hazardous Source Search and Reconstruction Michael Hutchinson, Cunjia Liu, Paul Thomas, Wen-Hua Chen
Vine Robots: Design, Teleoperation, and Deployment for Navigation and Exploration Margaret M. Coad, Laura H. Blumenschein, Sadie Cutler, Javier A. Reyna Zepeda, Nicholas D. Naclerio, Haitham El-Hussieny, Usman Mehmood, Jee-Hwan Ryu, Elliot W. Hawkes, Allison M. Okamura



With much sadness, we report that our friend Alberto Elfes peacefully rested on 5 July 2020 at age 67. The robotics community bid farewell to one of its pioneers, an outstanding researcher who, in the mid-eighties, invented the occupancy grid mapping, the embryo of the probabilistic techniques in robotics.

Alberto Elfes

Born from german parents, in Maceio, State of Alagoas, Brazil, from an early age Alberto was interested in science and technology. In his late teens, he passed the admission entry exam to the Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA), Brazil. There he graduated in Electronic Engineering in 1975, obtained his master's degree in computer science in 1980, and was immediately hired as faculty. Alberto joined the Carnegie Mellon University in 1982 to pursue a Ph.D. in the emerging field of robotics. His dissertation entitled "Occupancy Grids: A Probabilistic Framework for Robot Perception and Navigation" marks a milestone in mobile robotics research.

After leaving Carnegie Mellon, Alberto held positions as Principal Research Scientist at the T.J. Watson Research Center (1989-1993), where he created the Mobile Robotics Laboratory. He returned to Brazil as project coordinator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (1994-1997), where he acted as the director of the Automation Institute of Center for Information Technology (CTI) in Campinas, São Paulo (1994-1999). Among several advancements, Alberto conceived the Aurora Project, an autonomous airship for long term aerial monitoring and exploration (which was further advanced in this work at JPL). He then moved to Ulm/Germany as Mercator Professor (2000), and after one year, he accepted a position as Principal Scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2001-2011). In the last part of his career, he became the Chief Research Scientist in the Autonomous Systems Laboratory (ASL) at CSIRO in Brisbane, Australia, where he retired in May 2020.

Alberto was not only an all-embracing and curious mind, a cosmopolite, and a passionate robotics researcher but a caring teacher, mentor, and above all, a human being whose kindness touched each one who had the privilege to spend even a minute with him. Alberto Elfes was a loving husband to Noemia Elfes, an adored father to Cristiane and Albert, and an affectionate grandfather to Gabriel. He leaves a massive void in this presently unoccupied square of the grid, especially in our hearts, which only time can fill.

Mario F. Montenegro Campos, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Erwin Prassler, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, Germany


Special Issue on Challenges and Responses of Automation Science and Engineering to the COVID-19 Pandemic 

The recent COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has posed a significant threat to health, life, economy, and the whole society, but also led to numerous challenges and opportunities to automation science and engineering research. Accurate and efficient testing and tracing of infective patients, rapid response of medical workforce, quick reconfiguration of manufacturing system for protective equipment, secured supply chain of medical resources, reliable tele-health and online services, safe reopening of business operations, and future fast production of vaccines, etc., are essential to help reduce system risk, prevent further infections, stabilize economy, and restore social life. Advanced automation science and engineering technologies, such as AI, data analytics, optimization, robotics, additive and digital manufacturing, 5G network, are critical to ensure effective responses. Such challenges and opportunities have significantly expanded the scopes of traditional automation science and engineering. 

ieee hac

Deadline Date- 15 September 2020


IEEE HAC/SIGHT are soliciting IEEE member proposals for humanitarian and sustainable development projects that utilize technology to fight against COVID-19 in the areas of immediate impact, poverty mitigation, and inequality reduction.


Earlier this year, HAC/SIGHT funded over 70 grassroots member projects from 25 countries and 5 IEEE Regions in response to COVID-19. Given the tremendous response, another call for proposals has started. This time, the project scope areas are expanded to reflect the fact that the pandemic has not only affected health, but also exacerbated poverty and laid bare systemic inequality throughout the world. 

Proposals may be submitted between now and 15 September 2020. More information may be found here




F1TENTH is an international community of researchers, engineers, and autonomous systems enthusiasts working with 1/10th scale autonomous racecars.  We are excited to announce the 8th F1TENTH Autonomous Grand Prix/IROS 2020 F1TENTH autonomous racing competition! The IROS2020 timeline and more information is available on the race page

Teams must develop robust perception, planning, and control algorithms that can deal with the uncertainties of a new track and new competitors. Just like a real Grand Prix, teams first qualify in a timed trial against each other to determine seeding and then compete head-to-head in an intense battle of algorithms. Highlights from the recent (July 2020) virtual IFAC competition can be viewed here

We will be kicking off the 8th F1TENTH Autonomous Grand Prix with a webinar on September 2 at 13:00 EDT. We will go over race logistics and how to get started with the race simulator. The meet link is here.

Information on how to get started can be found in the Guidelines document.

Stay updated with us on slack in the #iros2020 channel.


Registration is now open!


Congratulations to the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society members recently elevated to Senior Member status by the IEEE Admission and Advancement Senior Member Review Panel.

To be eligible for application or nomination, candidates must:

  • be engineers, scientists, educators, technical executives, or originators in IEEE-designated fields
  • have experience reflecting professional maturity
  • have been in professional practice for at least ten years (with some credit for certain degrees)

In addition, candidates for Senior Member grade must supply three references from current IEEE members holding the grade of Fellow, Senior Member, or Honorary Member.

For more information, visit https://www.ieee.org/membership/senior/ or Email senior-member@ieee.org.

Pradeep Kumara Abeygunawardhana

Sri Lanka Section

Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology

Maxwell Addison

Ghana Section

Andi Adriansyah

Indonesia Section

Universitas Mercu Buana

Kasim Al-Aubidy

Jordan Section

Philadelphia University

Javier Alonso-Mora

Benelux Section

Delft University of Technology

Rosario Aragues

Spain Section

Universidad de Zaragoza

Jeffrey Arcand

Ottawa Section


Ashwin Ashok

Atlanta Section

Georgia State University

Mohamed Awadallah

New South Wales Section

University of Technology Sydney

M Balaji

Madras Section

Frontline Electronics Pvt Ltd

Giovanni Beltrame

Montreal Section

École Polytechnique de Montréal

Patrick Benavidez

Lone Star Section

University of Texas at San Antonio

Srijan Bhattacharya

Kolkata Section

RCC Institute of Information Technology

Antonio Bo

Queensland Section

The University of Queensland

Pascual Campoy

Spain Section

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Zheng Chen

Houston Section

University of Houston

Anthony Choi

Central Georgia Section

Mercer University

Richard Coogle

Atlanta Section

Georgia Tech Research Institute

Eddy Deeb

Lebanon Section


Prakash Duraisamy

Mobile Section

University of South Alabama

Floris Ernst

Germany Section

University of Lübeck

Mariam Faied

Southeastern Michigan Section

University of Detroit Mercy

Glenn Friedman

Santa Clara Valley Section

GXTec Consulting

Chandra Gajula

Columbus Section

Worthington Industries

Kishore Gajula

Columbus Section

Fusion Alliance

Liang Gao

Wuhan Section

Huazhong University of Science & Technology

Ryan Gariepy

Kitchener-Waterloo Section

Clearpath Robotics Inc.

Hammad Gilani                                                         

Islamabad Section

Institute of Space Technology

Amit Gupta

Denver Section


KR Guruprasad

Bangalore Section

National Institute of Technology Karnataka

Md. Habib

Bangladesh Section

Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology

Sami Haddadin

Germany Section

Technical University of Munich

Kensuke Harada

Kansai Section

Osaka University

Aseef Iqbal

Bangladesh Section

Chittagong Independent University

Md Zahidul Islam

Bangladesh Section

Islamic University

Rodrigo Jamisola

Reg 8-Subsections of Africa Council

Botswana International University of Science and Technology

Li Jiangang

Guangzhou Section

Harbin Institute of Technology

Maolin Jin

Daejeon Section

Korea Institute of Robot and Technology Convergence

Sungho Jo

Daejeon Section

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Mvv Prasad Kantipudi

Hyderabad Section

Visvesvaraya Technological University

Afthab Khan

Malaysia Section

UCSI University

Joo Kim

New York Section

New York University

Polychronis Kondaxakis

Sweden Section


Emre Koyuncu

Turkey Section

Istanbul Technical University

Makoto Kumon

Fukuoka Section

Kumamoto University

Jaerock Kwon

Southeastern Michigan Section

University of Michigan

Sandhya L.

Kerala Section

Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering

Darwin Lau

Hong Kong Section

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Nuno Lau

Portugal Section

Universidade de Aveiro

Mi Li

Harbin Section

Shenyang Institute of Automation

Zheng Li

Hong Kong Section

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Gijs M Krijnen

Benelux Section

University of Twente

Douglas Mackenzie

Southeastern Michigan Section

Hyundai Mobis North America

Sagar Mahajan

Bombay Section

Prince Sultan University

Ebrahim Mattar

Bahrain Section

University of Bahrain

Harish Mekali

Bangalore Section

B. M. S. College of Engineering

Ziyang Meng

Beijing Section

Tsinghua University

Andres Mora Vargas

Santa Clara Valley Section

NASA Ames Research Center

Mario Munich

Metropolitan Los Angeles Section

Embodied, Inc.

Francisco Mur

Spain Section

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

H Keith Nishihara

Santa Clara Valley Section

Lu and Nishihara Associates

Emmanuel Nuno

Guadalajara Section

University of Guadalajara

Calogero Oddo

Italy Section

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna

Robert Opalsky

San Diego Section


Huimin Ouyang

Nanjing Section

Nanjing Tech University

Dr Suresh P

Madras Section

Muthayammal Engineering College

Sujit P

Bombay Section

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Haseena P Y

Kerala Section

College of Engineering Karunagappally

Claudio Pacchierotti

France Section

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Theodore Pachidis

Greece Section

International Hellenic University

Gianluca Palli

Italy Section

University of Bologna

Jia Pan Hong 

Kong Section

University of Hong Kong

Yongping Pan

Guangzhou Section

National University of Singapore

Gaurav Pandey

Houston Section

Ford Motor Company 5

Kyung-Joon Park

Seoul Section

Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology

Mukesh Patil

Bombay Section

Ramrao Adik Institute of Technology

James Patton

Chicago Section

University of Illinois at Chicago

Jeffrey Piasecki

Southeastern Michigan Section

General Motors

Kishore Pinninti

Hyderabad Section

Vallurupalli Nageswara Rao Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering & Technology

Sakthinathan Pitchaiah

Philadelphia Section

Panagiotis Polygerinos

Greece Section


Kuppan Chetty Ramanathan

Madras Section

Hindustan University

Ludovic Righetti

New York Section

New York University

Jee-Hwan Ryu

Daejeon Section

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Tanveer Saleh

Malaysia Section

International Islamic University Malaysia

Thomas Savarino

Santa Clara Valley Section

Willow Glen Research

Russell Schwoerer

Seattle Section

Dan Selisteanu

Romania Section

University of Craiova

TaeWon Seo

Seoul Section

Hanyang University

Adam Spring

Atlanta Section

Danail Stoyanov

United Kingdom and Ireland Section

University College London

Zhenglong Sun

Guangzhou Section

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Ning Tan

Guangzhou Section

Sun Yat-sen University

Bhupinder Verma

Delhi Section

Lovely Professional University

Atsushi Yamashita

Tokyo Section

University of Tokyo

Zhi Yan

France Section

University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard

Dana Yoerger

Providence Section

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dongwon Yun

Seoul Section

Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology

Jing Zhao

Denver Section



Congratulations to John Vig, IEEE Past President, IEEE Life Fellow and RAS member, for being selected recipient of the 2020 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award

2020 Emberson Vig portrait photo small

The 2020 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award is given for distinguished service advancing the technical objectives of the IEEE, sponsored by the IEEE Technical Activities Board, is presented to JOHN VIG “For leadership, entrepreneurship, and perseverance in founding the IEEE Sensors Council and associated technical journals.”

To learn more, watch:

Read more about the 2020 Medal and Recognition recipients at the Honors Ceremony Vision Innovation Challenges Summit


Over the last decade there has been a significant increase of research activities focusing on robotic grasping and dexterous manipulation in dynamic and unstructured environments. The special issue “Robotic Grasping and Manipulation Challenges and Progress” of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters aims to summarize the state of the art and recent progress that has been achieved by the teams participating in the grasping and manipulation competitions of the IEEE-RAS Technical Committee on Robotic Hands, Grasping and Manipulation.

Due to the impact and disruption from Covid-19, the nominations deadline has been extended by one week. We hope that this will allow for a broader response in all categories.

Don't wait! The Award Nomination Deadline is Saturday, 1 August - NOW 8 August!!!.


Who are Leaders in the robotics and automation field? Who should be honored with a prestigious IEEE RAS Award? Consider nominating them! But hurry, the deadline for IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Award nominations is midnight (US EST) 8 August 2020.

Details for each award, including eligibility, nomination requirements and lists of previous recipients, may be found here:


Congratulations to the following Authors for their outstanding achievement as recipients of RAS Publication Awards!

Aim and Scope

While automated vehicle are ready to evolve in restricted and dedicated areas, autonomous vehicles are still facing difficulties to sense, interpret and decide their actions when facing situations in different environments. Various environments concern offroad environment, shared environment, crowdy and human populated environment, Among the difficulties, the first one is to succeed in the task to sense and interpret the scene in order to be aware about the situation and its evolution. The second one is to deal with the uncertainty of modelling, sensing, interpretation in decision and control. The third one is to take into account human behavior as manual drivers, pedestrians or human using new electric mobility system. The most challenging is to the understand and incorporate the changes in the environment for long term and safe navigation. With the recent revival of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data and Model driven approaches and algorithms offer the new opportunity to develop autonomous vehicles by improving their perception, Decision and control. This special issue aims to present the recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, Modelling, Perception, Decision and Control for extending the autonomy of robots. This is an opportunity to gather researchers in developing fundamental principles to discuss and share original research works and practical experiences. 

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