Special Sessions

Robot 2019 will feature a main track and Special Sessions in the following topics:

Aerial Robotics for Inspection and Maintenance 

Organizers: Guillermo Heredia and Begoña Arrue
Aerial robotics has experienced an important development in the last years. Among other applications, aerial robotics has demonstrated its capacity for industrial and structural inspection and maintenance operations. Many research groups worldwide have contributed to the relevant challenges of design, control, perception and planning, and tasks that require contact and physical interaction with structures and pipes and tanks in industrial plants. 
This special session will address aerial robotic technologies for autonomous inspection, monitoring and manipulation for maintenance work, a growing necessity that demands significant progress in multiple fields including those of aerial robot and aerial manipulator design and control, robot localization and mapping, semantic classification, planning for exploration and inspection, multi-robot systems, as well as application examples. The special session will present scientific and technological results in these areas and facilitate discussion on technology gaps and research directions. 
  • Design and control of aerial robots for inspection
  • Aerial manipulation control 
  • Disturbance attenuation and robust control 
  • Reinforcement learning for aerial manipulation 
  • Mapping for aerial manipulation 
  • Localization and mapping in visually-degraded environments 
  • Semantic scene understanding 
  • Planning for autonomous exploration 
  • Planning under uncertainty for exploration and mapping 
  • Learning inspection behaviors 
  • Sensors for aerial robotic inspection 
  • Experiences from real-life experience in infrastructure inspection 
  • Experiences from real-life experience in industrial inspection 
  • Large-scale field robotics experiments


Agricultural Robotics and Field Automation 

Organizers: Filipe Neves Santos, Francisco Rovira Más and Raul Morais
This special session addresses the uses of robotics, information technologies and precision agriculture techniques to drive small and unattended autonomous vehicles through particular crops. Relevant session topics are navigation, trajectory planning, SLAM, computer vision, field sensors, Field automation that are enabling robots to perform autonomous operations such as harvesting, pruning, thinning, mowing, spraying, weed removal and phytopharmaceutical treatments application using VRT technologies. Research, development, innovation, and standardization in field robotics and automation towards safe, efficient, and cost-effective agricultural production systems are also relevant topics to be considered in this session.
  • Agricultural robotics 
  • Advances in agricultural robotics for harvesting/pruning 
  • Sensing, planning and control for agricultural/horticultural robots 
  • Effectors and manipulators for agriculture/horticulture 
  • Multi-robot systems for agriculture/horticulture
  • Vision, LIDAR and radar perception
  • Sensor calibration 
  • Multimodal sensor fusion
  • Perception in challenging conditions 
  • Scene understanding 
  • Outdoors SLAM 
  • Scouting robots 
  • Spectral techniques for proximal sensing
  • Artificial intelligence applications and decision support systems


Autonomous Driving and Driver Assistance Systems 

Organizers: Vitor Santos, Angel Sappa, Miguel Oliveira and Arturo de la Escalera
The session covers all issues related specifically to autonomous driving of robotic vehicles, namely those moving in roads, streets and similar pathways, as well as techniques to detect and recognize other agents and features of the environment to assist human drivers. This covers research and development topics both on perception and control, as listed in Topics lists proposed for this special session. 
  • Vision, lidar and radar perception
  • Sensor calibration
  • Multimodal sensor fusion
  • Perception in challenging conditions
  • Scene understanding
  • Software architectures for autonomous vehicles
  • Special sensors for autonomous navigation
  • Driver-vehicle interaction and assisted driving
  • Navigation, motion planning and maneuvering
  • Vehicle dynamics and control
  • Outdoors SLAM
  • V2V and V2I communications
  • Simulation of automotive setups
  • Learning based perception and control


Autonomous Sailboats and Support Technologies

Organizers: Benedita Malheiro, Jorge Cabrera Gámez, Manuel Silva and Pedro Guedes
The design, development and deployment of autonomous ocean platforms for exploration and monitoring can provide researchers and decision makers with valuable data, trends and insights into the largest ecosystem on Earth. 
Most of the research on marine robots has been directed to electrically or fuel powered surface and underwater vessels. This type of vehicles presents severe limitations in range and endurance, depending on battery capacity or onboard fuel for propulsion, making them unsuitable for long term operation in inaccessible areas, that would otherwise be well suited for unmanned operation. These limitations make wind propelled vessels, used by mankind since ancient times, an attractive possibility. 
Regardless of the recognition of its relevance, the design and development of such platforms remains an open challenge. In particular, energy efficiency, control and robustness are major concerns in terms of autonomy and sustainability. 
Bearing in mind these ideas, the purpose of this Special Session is to join engineers, roboticists, researchers, and students to discuss and present new developments and innovative projects relevant to autonomous sailboats and the involved support technologies. 
  • Applications of autonomous sailboats 
  • Modelling, simulation, and stability analysis
  • Naval architecture 
  • Mechanical design and advanced materials 
  • Control architectures and algorithms 
  • Hardware and software for autonomous sailboats 
  • Sensors and actuators for autonomous sailing 
  • Energy and power management
  • System development and validation 
  • Route planning, navigation and optimization 
  • Collision avoidance, boat-to-boat communication 
  • Legal issues for autonomous sailing boats
  • Machine learning and adaptation
  • Sailing boats in education


Collaborative robots for industry applications 

Organizers: Pedro Neto and Jose Lima
Collaborative robots are a key element to achieve manufacturing competitiveness and flexibility, especially if they are able to interact and collaborate with humans in a shared workspace. The paradigm for robot usage has changed from an idea in which robots work in a repetitive and automated mode to a scenario in which robots collaborate with humans. This means taking the best of each partner, human and robot, by exploring the cognitive and dexterity capabilities of humans (focus on value-added tasks) and the capacity of robots to produce repetitive work and provide assistance. Humans should be able to cognitively and physically interact with robots using gestures, touch commands and task demonstration. Robots should be able to navigate autonomously in the factory floor to pick up the required parts and tools and prepare kits. 
  • Human-robot collaboration/interaction
  • Physical human-robot interaction 
  • Cognitive human-robot interaction 
  • Robot autonomy
  • Human/obstacle-robot Collision avoidance
  • Human-robot interfaces for fast robot system setup 
  • Grasping 
  • Assembly and precision assembly 
  • Robot navigation 
  • New robot applications in advanced manufacturing

Core concepts for an Ontology for Autonomous Robotics. Genealogy and Engineering Practice

Organizers: Paulo Goncalves, Julita Bermejo-Alonso, Ricardo Sanz, Jan Rosell, Alberto Olivares Alarcos and João Quintas
Following the great success of the ROBOT 2017 special session on “Ontologies and Knowledge Representation for Robotics”, it is proposed as follow-up this special session, “Core concepts for an Ontology of Autonomous Robots. Genealogy and Engineering Practice”. It pretends to be a discussion ground about ontologies, applied to autonomous robots, to converge towards core concepts for a consensus ontology.

The aim of this Special Session is to bring together at ROBOT'2019 researchers performing leading research on Ontologies for Autonomous Robots. We wish to provide a dedicated forum within ROBOT'2019 where recent advances on the application of Ontologies and Knowledge Representation in its diverse fronts may be presented and discussed.
  • Ontology development for robotics, 
  • Knowledge representation for robotics,
  • Knowledge enabled control of robots, 
  • Knowledge based robot architectures, 
  • Human-robot collaboration using ontologies,
  • Ontology engineering frameworks and methodologies, 
  • Reasoning techniques for robotics, 
  • Knowledge enabled control of robots  
  • Knowledge representation and reasoning in ubiquitous environments,
  • Relevant applications of Ontologies and Knowledge Representation for Robotics.

Field Robotics In Challenging Environments (FRICE) 

Organizers: Luis Riazuelo, Alejandro Mosteo and Danilo Tardioli
Traditional robotics techniques may fall short in challenging environments like tunnels, caves, enclosed spaces, uneven and wet terrains, low-light and gps-deprived scenarios, etc. Multi-robot teams complicate these issues and bring their own challenges to the table. This track welcomes contributions in all aspects of field robotics that have faced such challenges and identified shortcomings and solutions in well-established robotics practice but also in innovative research. We are particularly looking for reports on experimental results, data-acquisition campaigns, advances and innovative applications in such scenarios, but also for theoretical discussion and interdisciplinary experiences that focus on new requirements and challenges.
  • Robotics communication protocols
  • Solutions for sparse and dense fleets of MAVs 
  • Navigation in challenging environments 
  • Localization and map building in challenging environments 
  • High integrity software and formally validated algorithms 
  • Communication for drone coordination
  • Mobility-aware and 3D communication
  • Connectivity preservation strategies
  • Delay-tolerant networks and ferrying approaches 
  • Robot-based sensor networks 
  • Positioning and localization through radio frequency 
  • Robots movement, coordination, and behavio
  • Emergency applications 
  • Cooperative surveillance, smart cameras and sensors
  • Experimental results of robotics testbeds in challenging environments
  • Realistic use of networks in robotic applications

Future Industrial Robotics 

Organizers: Germano Veiga and Jon Agirre Ibarbia
The goal of this special session is to open a discussion forum that allows experts and potential end-users of the future industrial robotics systems application to cross share recent developments, challenges and current and new research trends. The advent of new robotics systems, such as mobile manipulators, safe robots for co-working, dual-arm robots, advanced sensors and new interaction technologies open a wide range of new application that in turn raise significant challenges that need to be tackled. The special session will provide the common ground in terms of what was brought by research in the last years and what are the manufacturing challenges that can sustain the take-off of these new robotics technologies use in industrial settings. On one hand the special session will have end-users involved in industrial oriented research projects in manufacturing application scenarios and on the other hand the workshop will bring researchers together to share the latest research in topics. It is expected that the special session will contribute for the bridging of the gap between the industry needs and research activities, both pointing research challenges and high impact applications scenarios.
  • Mobile manipulators 
  • Safe robots for co-working
  • Dual-arm robots 
  • Advanced sensing 
  • Localization and Navigation 
  • Human robot interaction and cooperation 
  • Multi-robot cooperation
  • Dual arm assembly 
  • Grasping 
  • Object recognition and localization

Intelligent Perception and Manipulation 

Organizers: Roemi Fernandez and Filipe Neves dos Santos
Robotic manipulation in structured environments requires dealing with novel unknown objects, occluded targets and cluttered workspaces. In this kind of applications, intelligent perception is crucial for motion planning, decision making, interaction, grasping and control. 

Perception and manipulation are therefore inextricably linked and must go hand in hand to achieve more intelligent and autonomous robotic manipulators, but also to endow these systems with new cognitive skills, and with the ability to collaborate, learn and adapt to complex changing environments and tasks.
Thus, the aim of this special session is to collect the most recent advances on intelligent perception and robotic manipulation.
  • Intelligent perception
  • Manipulation planning and control
  • Manipulation based on tactile sensing
  • Human-robot collaborative manipulation
  • Cognitive manipulation


Machine Learning in Robotics 

Organizers: Brígida Mónica Faria, Luis Merino, Guillem Alenyà and Adrià Colomé
Robots act in a multimodal world and have to cope with increasingly complex tasks. These tasks have been usually dealt with using action rules and hand-crafted knowledge. This, however, limits the generalization of robotic systems to different domains and applications. Machine Learning is thus nowadays playing an important role in Robotics. Applications of machine learning techniques allow a robot to acquire novel skills or to be able to adapt itself to its environment. Examples of robot skills that can be targeted by machine learning algorithms are locomotion, grasping, manipulation, human-robot adaptive interface, robot perception and vision and linguistic abilities.
  • Activity Recognition 
  • Adaptation, Configuration and Customization 
  • Behaviour and Motion Optimization 
  • Classification for Robotics Applications 
  • Data Mining for Robotics 
  • Evolutionary-Based Learning 
  • Imitation Learning / Learning from Demonstration 
  • Integrating Learning with Robot Architectures 
  • Integration of Multi-Modal Information for Robot Learning 
  • Intent Prediction and Expression 
  • Learning Models of Robots, Tasks or Environments 
  • Learning of Plans, Control Policies and Strategies 
  • Methods for Probabilistic Inference in Robotics
  • Optimization Methodologies for Robotics 
  • Reinforcement Learning / Learning from Experience

Mobile Robots for Industrial Environments 

Organizers: Luis Piardi and Jose Lima
The track on Mobile Robot for Industrial Environments within the Fourth Iberian Robotics Conference (ROBOT2019) aims to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion on the development and innovation in application based on mobile robots in Industrial environments. The purpose of the track is to demonstrate the capability and fields of application of mobile agents in this type of environment by analyzing the advantages and disadvantages from different points of view. This track aims to promote research, innovative applications, models, innovative approaches, projects, best practices, case studies, performing tasks and products in the area of mobile robots. Prospective authors are invited to submit papers in any of the topics listed below.
  • Mobile Robot Localization and Navigation; 
  • Mobile Robot Simulation.
  • Path Planning for mobile robots. 
  • Fault Tolerance in Mobile Robots. 
  • Swarm of Robots.

Radar-based applications for robotics 

Organizers: Francisco Curado and Eurico Pedrosa
In recent years, the number and diversity of sensory systems based on radar technology have been increasing dramatically, due in large part to the availability of inexpensive, self-contained development and evaluation kits that permit rapid prototyping and testing of radar-based applications. The reduced cost and dimension of these systems make them affordable for academic research and permit their integration in small, inexpensive robots. 
The immunity of radar signals to some of the main sources of noise (such as dust, fog, rain, strong heat and fire) that disrupt measurements taken with other sensors (such as cameras, laser or infrared) is one of the most important arguments for the adoption of radar as a fundamental sensor in autonomous systems in general and in mobile robotics in particular. Robotic applications currently operational or under development include: obstacle detection and mapping of indoor environments, ground and pavement classification, terrain-referenced navigation, SLAM, and detection and tracking of people and objects in motion. 
This special session aims to broaden and disseminate knowledge about the state of the art of radar technology within the robotics community, fostering the exchange of experience on applications of radar technology to robotics and the discussion of the potential of the technology to address a series of open problems in the various domains of robotics.
The session covers, but is not limited to, the following topics related to the application of radar technology in robotics: 
  • Radar-based odometry. 
  • Radar-based terrain analysis and classification. 
  • Mapping of navigation environments using radar. 
  • Radar-based terrain-referenced navigation and SLAM. 
  • Sensor fusion of radar applied to mapping and navigation of mobile robots. 
  • Medium-sharing, interference mitigation, and cooperative operation of multiple radars. 
  • Estimation of kinematic properties of mobile objects integrated with collision avoidance in mobile robots. 
  • Human gesture recognition for interaction and remote control of robots. 
  • Detection and tracking of people and objects in motion. 
  • Radar-based monitoring by mobile robots of human vital signs. 
  • Detection of still or inanimate people in indoor environments. 
  • Search and rescue missions in vision-denied environments.

Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics 

Organizers: Cristina Manuela Peixoto Santos, Juan C Moreno and Brígida Mónica Faria
Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics investigates the application of robotics in therapy procedures for recovering motor control and motor capabilities in persons with impairment following accidents or diseases such as strokes. It also aims at developing robotic aids for independent living for elderly and disabled people. With the growth of the elderly and disabled population in Europe, in the last decades, this area is getting more and more important for robotics. This special session aims to bring together robotic researchers both at academic and industrial level worldwide with emphasis for the Iberian community, performing research on Rehabilitation and Assistive robotics.
  • Adaptation and learning in assistive/rehabilitation robotics; 
  • Assistive robotics;
  • Human-Robot interfaces for assisting people with disabilities; 
  • Lower-limb and upper-limb rehabilitation robotics; 
  • Multimodal interfaces for assistive/rehabilitation robots; 
  • Rehabilitation robotics; 
  • Robotic Prosthesis and Orthotics; 
  • Social cognition towards assistive/rehabilitation robots; 
  • Technologies for assistive/rehabilitation robotics;
  • User acceptance of assistive/rehabilitation robots; 
  • User-centered design in assistive/rehabilitation robotics.

Robotics for the Marine Environment

Organizers: Nuno Cruz and Bruno Ferreira
Among the various application domains of robotics, the marine environment aggregates some of the most challenging operating conditions. In the last years, some of these challenges have been steadily overcome and there are already many successful examples of effective, reliable robotic solutions for the marine environment. These have been used to increase the efficiency and safety of ocean exploration and exploitation for scientific, commercial, and military purposes. At the same time, this growth has motivated the interest of other potential adopters that look at marine robotics as a key enabler for the successful execution of increasingly complex and challenging missions at sea. This is a favorable combination of factors that result in intensive research and development in this field. 

This special session aims to bring together researchers working on the various aspects of robotics for the marine environment as well as users of marine robotic tools that would like to share their experience and challenges. The session welcomes manuscripts supported by results from field experiments, but it also expects more fundamental prospective work, providing the grounds for future applications. It is expected to be a forum for discussion of the most recent advances in science and technology for marine robotics. 
  • Development of robots for the marine environment 
  • Control of marine robots 
  • Coordination of marine robots
  • Mission planning for autonomous marine vehicles 
  • Development of open ocean and coastal monitoring devices 
  • Automation of marine processes 
  • Autonomous intervention at sea 
  • Underwater navigation and tracking 
  • Sensors for marine robots 
  • Mapping and environmental perception 
  • Educational activities using marine robots
  • Simulation of marine robotic systems

Simulation in Robotics 

Organizers: Nuno Lau and Artur Pereira
While robotics is inherently a very practical research area, the use of simulators in robotics research is very common, as they provide a cost and time effective and safe methodology to develop the robot software. The use of simulation also enables a level of introspection and control over the evolution of time, that is seldom available when using real robots, and allows an easy way to perform repetitive tests. 
There are several quite realistic robotic simulators available for the use in robotics research. However, the study on general methodologies to swap from robotic simulation to its application in real robots is still a research problem. This Special Session is focussed on the use of simulation in robotics. It aims at gathering researchers that use or develop robotic simulators to present their novel research on these subjects. 
  • Robotic simulators in education and training 
  • Simulated robotic competitions
  • Machine learning in robotics using simulators
  • Robotic simulator technologies 
  • Simulated multi-agent robotic systems 
  • Development tools for Robotics 
  • Simulated humanoid robots 
  • Simulation of robotic sensors and actuators
  • Modeling and simulation of complex robots 

The list of topics presented here is not exhaustive, other topics related to the Simulation in Robotics will also be accepted.


Special Session on Educational Robotics 

Organizers: Armando Sousa and Francisco Bellas
This session will be focused on the presentation of novel educational projects and experiences carried out with robots in primary, secondary and Higher Education. The expected topics include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Robotics experiences in Primary, Secondary, and Higher Education
  • Robotics Curriculum 
  • Robotics to foster STEM areas
  • Robotics & Gender issues
  • Robotic demonstrators for education and public
  • Robotic Kits
  • Robotic simulators applied in the classroom
  • Robotic competitions and events
  • Robotic Games for Learning
  • Games for Learning Robotics
  • Robotics (& Technology) assisted education
  • Project-based learning and robotics
  • Evaluation methods in educational robotics
  • Educational robotics application fields (including Mobile Robotics, Manipulators, Industrial Robotics and Intelligent Robotics)
  • Humanoid robots in education
  • Integration of robotics in other subjects and school curricula

Workshop on Physical Agents 

Organizers: Vicente Matellán Olivera, Miguel Ángel Cazorla Quevedo, Pablo Bustos García de Castro and Ismael García Varea
This session will be the XXth yearly edition of this workshop, a forum for information and experiences exchange in different areas regarding the concept of agent on physical environments, especially applied to the control and coordination of autonomous systems: robots, mobile robots, industrial processes or complex systems.
  • Physical agents 
  • Software agents 
  • Multiagent systems
  • Domotic agents & applications
  • Smart-sensors networks 
  • Human-Robot interaction 
  • Robotic manipulators 
  • Robocup and soccer robots 
  • Mobile robots 
  • Autonomous and semiautonomous robots
  • Cooperating robots 
  • Machine learning and robotics 
  • Industrial robotics 
  • Applied intelligent robotic systems 
  • Computer vision and robotics
  • SLAM 
  • Artificial Vision and Robotics 
  • AI and robotics
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