The Standing Committee for Standards Activities (SCSA) under the Industrial Activities Board (IAB) of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society has been actively working with the research and industrial communities and other Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) to identify areas in standards for robotics and automation that are ripe for standardization.

The scope of the activities of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s Standing Committee for Standards Activities (RAS-SCSA) is to formally adopt and confirm best practices in robotics and automation as standards. The Standing Committee will work with interested members of RAS in supporting standards defining activities in both established, mature application areas and nascent, emerging technologies related to robotics and automation. Within this scope, the RAS Standing Committee for Standards Activities shall pursue the following objectives:

• promote common measures and definitions in robotics and automation
• promote measurability and comparability of robotics and automation technology
• promote integrity, portability, and reusability of robotics and automation technology

Current RAS Standards

1872-2015 IEEE Standard Ontologies for Robotics and Automation

A core ontology that specifies the main, most general concepts, relations, and axioms of robotics and automation (R&A) is defined in this standard, which is intended as a reference for knowledge representation and reasoning in robots, as well as a formal reference vocabulary for communicating knowledge about R&A between robots and humans. This standard is composed of a core ontology about R&A, called CORA, together with other ontologies that give support to CORA.

1873-2015 IEEE Standard for Robot Map Data Representation for Navigation

A map data representation of environments of a mobile robot performing a navigation task is specified in this standard. It provides data models and data formats for two-dimensional (2D) metric and topological maps.


Two Study Groups (SGs) focusing on Ontologies for Robotics and Automation (ORA-P1872) and Map Data Representation (MDR-P1873) were formed in early 2011. Based on discussions within the SGs and comments from the community, two project authorization requests (PARs) were submitted to the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) in late October 2011. The PARs were subsequently approved by the IEEE-SA New Standards Committee (NeSCOM) in early November 2011, thus transitioning the Study Groups (SGs) into Working Groups (WGs) within which the standardization efforts are now formally continuing with RAS as the official sponsor.

The ORA WG, chaired by Craig Schlenoff (NIST, USA and Edson Prestes (UFRGS, Brazil, aims to develop a standard ontology and associated methodology for knowledge representation and reasoning in robotics and automation, together with the representation of concepts in an initial set of application domains. The standard will provide a unified way of representing knowledge and will provide a common set of terms and definitions, allowing for unambiguous knowledge transfer among any group of humans, robots, and other artificial systems. In 2015, this working group developed the Core Ontologies for Robotics and Automation (CORA) Specification, which was balloted and officially adopted as an IEEE Standard. Information about this standard can be found at

In December 2015, the IEEE RAS SCSA approved a study group entitled "Industrial Robot Ontology." The goal of this study group is to specialize the concepts in the CORA ontology to directly address the information needs of the industrial robotics domain. The resulting standard will provide a set of well-founded ontologies specifying vocabulary and definitions about shared concepts and relations in Industrial Robotics and Automation. Initial efforts will focus on industrial assembly, and may be expanded based on industry need and the expertise of the study group participants. The standard shall also specify optional mechanisms (such as languages, API's, etc.) and methodologies aimed at guiding the direct application of the ontologies in the industrial setting. The language and API's will be semantically-based on the industrial ontology.

The MDR-WG, chaired by Wonpil Yu (ETRI, Korea and Geoff Biggs (AIST, Japan, aims to standardize a common representation and encoding for the two-dimensional map data used for navigation by mobile robots. The encoding will be used when exchanging map data with other components and systems. The standard focuses on interchange of map data between components and systems, particularly those that may be supplied by different vendors. As well as the encoding, the standard aims to specify suitable APIs and protocols for the interchange process so that navigation-related components from multiple vendors may inter-operate.

Since 2011, it has been customary to have a full-day RAS-SCSA meeting on the first Monday at ICRA and IROS. The WGs welcome your comments and participation in this standardization process. To be involved in the activities of the Committee, neither RAS nor IEEE-SA memberships are mandatory. For additional details, please send an email to Dr. Erwin Prassler, RAS VP for Industrial Activities Chair, RAS-SCSA at

o RAS-SCSA Meeting, IROS’12, Vilamoura, Portugal
o Project Authorization Request-ORA-P1872
o Project Authorization Request-MDR-P1873

Easy Links