Distinguished Lecturers

To request a Distinguished Lecturer (DL) for your next event, complete the DL Application Form. For more information or to see the full list, go to the Distinguished Lecturers page.

Fabio Bonsignorio portrait
Fabio Bonsignorio
Performance Evaluation & Benchmarking of Robotic and Automation Systems
Heron Robots and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy
Italy
RAS Geographic Region 2

Fabio Bonsignorio is a Visiting Professor at the Biorobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa. He has been professor at the University Carlos III of Madrid until 2014 ( in 2009 he was awarded there the Santander Chair of Excellence in Robotics). He is founder and CEO of Heron Robots, see www.heronrobots.com. He has been working in the R&D departments of several major companies for more than 20 years. He is currently a member of the Research Board of Directors of SPARC. He has pioneered and introduced the topic of Reproducible Research and Benchmarking in Robotics and AI. He coordinated the EURON Special Interest Group on Good Experimental Methodology and Benchmarking in Robotics, is cochair of the IEEE RAS TC-Pebras. He has been general co-chair of the IEEE RAS 2015 Summer School on Replicable and Measurable Robotics Research. He has been the corresponding editor of the Special Issue on Replicable and Measurable Robotics Research on IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, appeared in September 2015. He has designed the Reproducible Articles in IEEE R&A Mag. He has been in the Program Commitee of the European Robotics Forum 2017, 2018 and he is for 2019.

Talk # 1

Reproducible Research in Robotics

The second wave of Robotics, integrating Machine Learning, Probabilistic Robotics and some AI is already having significant impact on our economy and our society. The third wave inspired by the organizational principles of living being and natural intelligence and merging more and more tightly with humans will potentially have a disruptive impact on society and our self-perception and very nature. Meanwhile methodology is lacking, societal and economical impact not well understood, citizen involvement in the issues still too limited. We need first of all to go back to the basics of the scientific method.

Talk # 2

Robotics is coming of age: Reproducible Research, Benchmarking, Insurance fees and the Economy of Robots

The second wave of Robotics, integrating Machine Learning, Probabilistic Robotics, and some AI is already having significant impact on our economy and our society. The third wave inspired by the organizational principles of living beings and natural intelligence and merging more and more tightly with humans will potentially have a disruptive impact on society and our self-perception and very nature. Meanwhile methodology is lacking, societal and economical impact is not well understood, and citizen involvement in the issues still too limited. Do we need first of all to go back to the basics of the scientific method? This seminar will cover issues about reproducible Robotics research, claim assessment, qualitative result evaluation, benchmarking of the performance of robotic and intelligent systems, and risk modelling.

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Elena Messina portrait
Elena Messina
Performance Evaluation & Benchmarking of Robotic and Automation Systems
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg (MD), USA
RAS Geographic Region 1

Elena Messina leads the Manipulation & Mobility Systems Group of the Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Her current responsibilities include managing the Engineering Laboratory's Robotic Systems for Smart Manufacturing Program, which is focused on advancing the capabilities of agile, collaborative robots through the definition of performance requirements, metrics, test methods, tools, and testbeds. She is internationally recognized for her work in the development of performance metrics and evaluation methodologies for robotic and autonomous systems. Elena founded key efforts to develop test methodologies for measuring performance of robots, which range from long-term use of robotic competitions to drive innovation to consensus standards for evaluating robotic components and systems. Elena has over 150 publications and is co-editor of the books “Intelligent Vehicle Systems: A 4D/RCS Approach," "Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking of Intelligent Systems," and “Autonomous Industrial Vehicles: From the Laboratory to the Factory Floor.” She has received two Department of Commerce Bronze Medals for Superior Performance and Technical Leadership and the Edward Bennet Rosa Award for research and development leading to standardized test methods for emergency response robots.

Talk # 1 

Advancing the State of the Art in Robotics through a Holistic Approach to Competitions

Competitions are a useful tool for measuring robotic system and component performance. Are there certain practices and approaches that may have greater impact? I will discuss some lessons-learned from competitions that may prove useful in selection of metrics and design of tests and benchmarks. In certain cases, conceiving of a competition within a greater ecosystem of innovation can yield greater advancements.

Talk # 2

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Robot Performance?

Robot systems and their constituent components, such as sensors and hands, are advancing at what feels like an accelerating pace. This progress is great news, but poses many challenges in being able to understand which robot, algorithm, or components would be appropriate for one's applications. Many claims are made in research papers and product brochures that are hard to translate to a particular real-world prediction of how well a robot would perform. We will discuss approaches for identifying key performance parameters in order to characterize a robot's performance. One of the key considerations is the fact that performance cannot be discussed in isolation: performance is always contextual.

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Angel P. del Pobil portrait
Angel P. del Pobil
Performance Evaluation & Benchmarking of Robotic and Automation Systems
Jaume I University
Castellon, Spain
RAS Geographic Region 2

Angel P. del Pobil received the B.Sc. in physics and the Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Navarra, Spain. He is currently a Professor with Jaume I University, Spain, where he is the founding Director of the Robotic Intelligence Laboratory. He is a Visiting Professor at Sungkyunkwan University, Korea. He is co-Chair of the IEEE RAS TC on Performance Evaluation & Benchmarking of Robotic Systems (2009-present), and a member of the Governing Board of the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Society (2012-2024). He was Co-Chair of the IEEE RAS Robot Motion & Path Planning TC (1997-2004) and member of the Governing Board of EURON (European Robotics Research Network, 2001-2009). He has over 300 publications, including 11 books, and was co-organizer of some 50 workshops and tutorials at ICRA, IROS, RSS, etc. He has been Program or General Chair of 6 international conferences such as Adaptive Behaviour (SAB 2014). He serves regularly as Associate Editor for ICRA and IROS, and on the program committee of over 180 international conferences. He has been invited speaker of 73 plenary speeches, seminars and tutorials, in 15 countries. He serves as associate or guest editor for 12 journals and has been PI of 37 research projects.

Talk # 1

Manual Robotic Intelligence -and the Success of Assistant Robots

Many forecasts predict a dramatic increase in the non-industrial robotics market in the coming years. For actual assistant robots to become consumer products, a leap in their manipulation skills is called for. If they are intended to help in performing daily tasks at home, the perceived quality of service requires a successful physical interaction with the environment. This poses a number of challenges such as adaptability, autonomy, functionality, resiliency, cost-effectiveness, and safety. I will also look at robots as cyber-physical networked systems and consider the posibilities of cloud computing. I will compare them with robots in online shopping warehouses, with some lessons learned from our participation in the Amazon Robotics Challenge 2017.

Talk # 2

Robots as Cyberphysical Systems: the Case of Personal Assistants and Online Shopping Warehouses

An intelligent robot is a perfect paradigm of a cyber-physical system (CPS), since its very nature is based on the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components, including embedded sensors, processors and actuators in order to sense and interact with the physical world. In my speech I will address some of the challenges for robots considered as CPS, such as adaptability, autonomy, functionality, resiliency, and safety, with emphasis on the physical interaction with the environment. As test cases I will consider robots as personal assistants, along with robots in online shopping warehouses, as an example towards the 4th industrial revolution, the so-called Industry 4.0, with some lessons learned from our recent participation in the Amazon Robotics Challenge 2017 that took place in Nagoya in July 2017. I will also discuss some implications in terms of the interactions of information processing, communication and control of physical processes, with especial emphasis on the difficulties that dealing with open-ended physical entities can bring.

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