AI meets Robotics... in Europe!
A workshop at the European Robotics Forum 2013
Lyon, France, March 19
The workshop "AI meets Robotics... in Europe!" took place at the
European Robotics Forum (ERF) 2013 in Lyon, France, on March 19, 2013.
The main objective of the workshop was to foster the creation of a
community that bridges the fields of Artificial Intelligence and
Robotics. This event continued the work started with the foundational event held last
year in Örebro, Sweden, but this time emphasis was put on the
The workshop was allocated a 2 hour slot. This time was used mainly for
short presentations (teaser style) so as to provide a broader view and
more networking opportunities, leaving the technical details for offline
The presentations were clustered into three groups as follows.
- Highlights from EU projects.
Nine EU projects were presented, which all have a strong component of
integrating AI and Robotics. Many commonalities and potentials for
synergies among projects became appearent. Projects used a variety of
AI techniques, ranging from planning (SAPHARI, ARCAS, RACE, GeRT, CogX)
to ontologies and knowledge representation (STRANDS, RACE, Rosetta) and
to cooperation (SAPHARI, ARCAS). Several scientific issues were
recurrent in several projects, and they seem to represent focal issues
in the application of AI techniques to a robotic system. These issues
include the following ones:
- How to acquire the knowledge required by knowledge-based
techniques: from experiences (RACE), from exploration (STRANDS),
from errors (Rosetta), from hand-coded programs (GeRT), and from the
- How to link the symbolic (discrete) knowledge and processes
typical of knowledge-based techniques with the subsymbolic
(continuous) ones typical of robotic systems (STRANDS, RACE, GeRT).
- How to integrate knowledge and reasoning of different types
- Benchmarking and Innovation.
- For the benchmarking part, the RockIn Coordinated Action was
presented, whose aim is to promote the use of competitions for
innovation through benchmarking. It was suggested that the RockIn
activities are well suited to evaluate the contribution of AI
techniques to full, integrated robotic systems.
- For the innovation part, two companies (Tecnalia and MetraLabs)
have presented their views on the added value of using AI techniques
in their robotic products. Both companies have noted that the
inclusion of AI techniques is becoming unavoidable since robots will
be increasingly used in domains where they co-exist with humans.
Expected use of AI included: gaining awareness of the user's status
and activity, generating and adjusting plans dynamically, and
interacting with non-technical users. MetraLabs mentioned the
Robot-Era EU project as an example where all the above are needed.
- The EU perspective.
Cecile Huet, from the EC, noted that her unit has decided to put
Cognition and Robotics together since FP5, and emphasized that
interdisciplinarity is the key to major scientific steps. She noted
that H2020 is likely to continue this trend with a priority on
"Cognitive systems and unconventional robotics". She emphasized the
importance for this community to contribute to the new Strategic
Research Agenda, SRA2020. She mentioned a few success stories of the
past years, e.g., the iCub, as well as some points that still need to be
improved. Two of these are: how to measure success and progress, and
how to transfer results from and among projects.
The workshop was attended by almost 70 people from industry and
academia. The comments collected after the workshop were very positive,
and many pushed to continue the activities in this direction. The event
therefore qualifies as a great success.
There was a clear urge to discuss many issues, but time was very
limited. It was therefore suggested to continue the discussion on the
"ai-robotics" Wiki space (ai-robotics.wikispaces.com)
and/or throught the "ai-robotics" mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It has also been suggested to propose a Topic Group on "AI and Robotics"
within the euRobotics ASBL. Steps in this direction are being taken.
Please contact Alessandro Saffiotti if you wish
to register to the above Wiki space and/or mailing list, or if you wish
to be part of the Topic Group proposal.
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Last updated on April 10, 2013