The 12th Conference Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems Sheffield UK, 31 Aug - 2 Sep 2011


The conference venue address is Sheffield Hallam University, Furnival Building, City Campus, 153 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU, UK

All lectures are in room 9130 of the Furnival Building. Registration opens at 07:30 on Wednesday, 31/08/2011.

Wednesday - 31st August Back to Top

09:00 - 09:10 Welcome
Welcome by Prof. Mike Smith (pro Vice Chancellor for Research at Sheffield Hallam University)
09:10 - 10:00 Plenary Session
An Ocean of “Crunchy” and “Squishy” Cognition Calls For Behavioral Hypothesis Testing with BioMimetic Robots
Frank W. Grasso (Brooklyn College, CUNY, USA)

BioMimetic robots may be used to develop new technologies inspired from the existence proofs of solution to a given problem provided by studies of animal behavior. Conversely BioMimetic robots can be used as analytical tools to explore the neural and behavioral mechanisms by which animals meet the challenges of their natural environments. Most Bio-Roboticists contribute in both ways; advancing new technological concepts and illuminating the mechanisms of animal behavior from which they draw inspiration. This talk will emphasize the latter; the ways in which BioMimetic robots (or Bio-Robots) may contribute to our developing understanding of the neural systems that control behaviors in whole organisms. The sea abounds with invertebrate animals with body plans and neural architectures that contrast those of humans and indeed vertebrates in profound ways. Yet, these alien bodies and “simple” brains enable marine invertebrates to solve many of the same problems solved by higher vertebrates. The talk will highlight the abundant, challenging and novel opportunities for BioMimetic inquiry with advanced marine invertebrates. I will present examples of parallel behavioral and robotic (or simulation) studies in crustaceans (“crunchies”) and cephalopods (“squishies”) conducted with students in my laboratory and collaborators in other laboratories. The talk will illustrate the specific utility of BioMimetic robotics inspired by advanced marine invertebrates for understanding basic mechanisms of brain, body and behavior.

10:00 - 10:40 Paper Session 1

10:00 - 10:20 Mapping with sparse local sensors and strong hierarchical priors. Charles W. Fox and Tony J. Prescott
10:20 - 10:40 A Recursive Least Squares Solution for Recovering Robust Planar Homographies. Saad Ali Imran and Nabil Aouf

10:40 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 12:00 Paper Session 2

11:00 - 11:20 Sensing with artificial tactile sensors: An investigation of spatio-temporal inference. Asma Motiwala, Charles Fox, Nathan F. Lepora and Tony J. Prescott
11:20 - 11:40 A cricket-controlled robot orienting towards a sound source. Jan Wessnitzer, Alexandros Asthenidis, Georgios Petrou, and Barbara Webb
11:40 - 12:00 Deformation-based tactile feedback using a biologically-inspired sensor and a modified display. Calum Roke, Chris Melhuish, Tony Pipe, David Drury and Craig Chorley

12:00 - 13:10 Lunch Break
13:10 - 14:10 Paper Session 3

13:10 - 13:30 Design and Control of an Upper Limb Exoskeleton Robot RehabRoby. Fatih Ozkul, Duygun Erol Barkana
13:30 - 13:50 Real-World Reinforcement Learning for Autonomous Humanoid Robot Charging in a Home Environment. Nicolas Navarro, Cornelius Weber, and Stefan Wermter
13:50 - 14:10 A Task Space Integral Sliding Mode Controller Implementation for 4DOF of a Humanoid BERT II arm with Posture Control. Said Ghani Khan, Jamaludin Jalani, Guido Herrmann, Tony Pipe, and Chris Melhuish

14:10 - 15:10 Poster Teaser 1

A Navigation System for a High-Speed Professional Cleaning Robot Gorka Azkune, Mikel Astiz, Urko Esnaola, Unai Antero, Jose Vicente Sogorb, and Antonio Alonso (FL)
Long-term Experiment Using an Adaptive Appearance-based Map for Visual Navigation by Mobile Robots Feras Dayoub, Grzegorz Cielniak, and Tom Duckett (EA)
An Implementation of a Biologically Inspired Model of Head Direction Cells on a Robot Theocharis Kyriacou (FL)
CrunchBot: A Mobile Whiskered Robot Platform Charles W. Fox, Mathew H. Evans, Nathan F. Lepora, Martin Pearson, Andy Ham, and Tony J. Prescott (FL)
Tactile afferent simulation from pressure arrays Rosana Matuk Herrera (EA)
The Interaction Between Vortices and a Biomimetic Flexible Fin Jennifer Brown, Lily Chambers, Keri M. Collins, Otar Akanyeti, Francesco Visentin, Ryan Ladd, Paolo Fiorini, William Megill (EA)
Cooperative Multi-Robot Box Pushing Inspired by Human Behaviour Jianing Chen and Roderich Gross (EA)
Enhancing Self-similar Patterns by Asymmetric Artificial Potential Functions in Partially Connected Swarms Giuliano Punzo, Derek Bennet, Malcolm Macdonald (EA)
Forming Nested 3D Structures Based on the Brazil Nut Effect Stephen Foster and Roderich Gross (EA)
Evolving Modularity in Robot Behaviour using Gene Expression Programming Jonathan Mwaura, Ed Keedwell (EA)
Instance-Based Reinforcement Learning Technique with a Meta-Learning Mechanism for Robust Multi-Robot Systems Toshiyuki Yasuda, Motohiro Wada, and Kazuhiro Ohkura (FL)
Toward an Ecological Approach to Interface Design for Teaching Robots Guillaume Doisy, Joachim Meyer, Yael Edan (EA)
On the Analysis of Parameter Convergence for Temporal Difference Learning of an Exemplar Balance Problem Martin Brown and Onder Tutsoy (EA)
Multi-rate Visual Servoing based on Dual-Rate High Order Holds J. Ernesto Solanes, Josep Tornero, Leopoldo Armesto, and Vicent Girbes (FL)
Smooth Kinematic Controller vs Pure-Pursuit for Non-Holonomic Vehicles Vicent Girbes, Leopoldo Armesto, Josep Tornero, and J. Ernesto Solanes (FL)
Optimal path planning for nonholonomic robotic systems via parametric optimisation James Biggs (FL)
Airborne ultrasonic position and velocity measurement using two cycles of linear-period-modulated signal Shinya Saito, Minoru Kuribayashi Kurosawa, Yuichiro Orino, and Shinnosuke Hirata (FL)
Occupancy Grid-based SLAM Using a Mobile Robot with a Ring of Eight Sonar Transducers George Terzakis, Sanja Dogramadzi (EA)
Visual-Inertial Motion Priors for Robust Monocular SLAM Usman Qayyum and Jonghyuk Kim (EA)
Study of routing algorithms considering real time restrictions using a connectivity function Magali Arellano-Vazquez, Hector Bentez-Perez, Jorge L. Ortega-Arjona (EA)
Using Sequences of Knots as a Random Search C. A. Pina-Garcia and Dongbing Gu (EA)

15:10 - 15:30 Tea Break
15:30 - 16:20 Manned Poster Session 1
16:20 - 17:40 Paper Session 4

16:20 - 16:40 Contextual Recognition of Robot Emotions. Jiaming Zhang and Amanda J.C. Sharkey
16:40 - 17:00 An Eye Detection and Localization System for Natural Human and Robot Interaction without Face Detection. Xinguo Yu, Weicheng Han, Liyuan Li, Ji Yu Shi and Gang Wang
17:00 - 17:20 Towards Safe Human-Robot Interaction. Elena Corina Grigore, Kerstin Eder, Alexander Lenz, Sergey Skachek, Anthony G. Pipe, Chris Melhuish
17:20 - 17:40 What can a Personal Robot do for you? Guido Bugmann and Simon. N. Copleston

19:30 Pre Dinner drinks, Millenium Gallery
20:00 Conference Dinner, Millenium Gallery

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Thursday - 1st September Back to Top

09:10 - 10:00 Plenary Session
Robot Navigating, Mapping and Understanding with Laser and Vision
Paul Newman (Oxford, UK)

Robots are now getting good at knowing where they are - I will discuss how this has come to pass, what the state of the art is and where the field is heading now. I will highlight some of the work that the Oxford Mobile Robotics Group has undertaken over the past few years with a particular emphasis on exploiting vision and laser sensors to navigate, map and interpret workspaces. Our research interests lie squarely in the domain of vast scale persistent navigation and mapping and accordingly I will illustrate our systems and algorithms working over city and county scales.

10:00 - 10:40 Paper Session 5

10:00 - 10:20 Robot Routing Approaches for Convoy Merging Maneuvers. Fernando Valdes, Roberto Iglesias, Felipe Espinosa, Miguel A. Rodriguez, Pablo Quintia and Carlos Santos
10:20 - 10:40 Walking Rover Trafficability - Presenting a Comprehensive Analysis and Prediction Tool. Brian Yeomans and Chakravathini M. Saaj

10:40 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 12:00 Paper Session 6

11:00 - 11:20 Evaluating the effect of robot group size on relative localisation precision. Frank E. Schneider and Dennis Wildermuth
11:20 - 11:40 Towards Temporal Verification of Emergent Behaviours in Swarm Robotic Systems. Clare Dixon, Alan Winfield, and Michael Fisher
11:40 - 12:00 Costs and benefits of behavioral specialization. Arne Brutschy, Nam-Luc Tran, Nadir Baiboun, Marco Frison, Giovanni Pini, Andrea Roli, Marco Dorigo, and Mauro Birattari

12:00 - 13:10 Lunch Break

13:10 - 14:00 Plenary Session
Bioinspired assistive robotics for children and adults with special needs
Yiannis Demiris (Imperial College London, UK)

Robots are increasingly establishing their credibility as useful assistants outside traditional industrial environments, with new challenges emerging for intelligent robotics research. To personalise the interaction with human users, robots need to develop life-long user models that can be used to recognise human actions, predict human intentions and assist intelligently, while constantly adapting to changing human profiles. In this talk, I will draw inspiration from biological systems and describe our latest advances in embodied social cognition mechanisms for humanoid robots, and describe their application towards adaptive robotic assistants for children and adults with disabilities.

14:00 - 15:00 Poster Teaser 2

A General Classifier of Whisker Data using Stationary Naive Bayes: Application to BIOTACT Robots Nathan F. Lepora, Charles Fox, Mat Evans, Ben Mitchinson, Asma Motiwala, J. Charlie Sullivan, Martin J. Pearson, Jason Welsby, Tony Pipe, Kevin Gurney, and Tony J. Prescott (FL)
Probabilistic Logic Reasoning About Traffic Scenes Carlos R. C. Souza and Paulo E. Santos (FL)
Using Image Depth Information for Fast Face Detection Sasa Bodiroza (EA)
Designing Electric Propulsion System for UAVs Mohamed Kara Mohamed, Sourav Patra, and Alexander Lanzon (EA)
Systematic Design of Flexible Magnetic Wall and Ceiling Climbing Robot for Cargo Screening Yuanming Zhang and Tony Dodd (EA)
Towards Autonomous Energy-Wise RObjects Florian Vaussard, Michael Bonani, Philippe Retornaz, Alcherio Martinoli, and Francesco Mondada (FL)
A Systems Integration Approach to Creating Embodied Biomimetic Models of Active Vision Alex Cope, Jon Chambers, and Kevin Gurney (EA)
Towards adaptive robotic green plants Janine Stocker, Aline Veillat, Stephane Magnenat, Francis Colas, and Roland Siegwart (EA)
A validation of localisation accuracy improvements by the combined use of GPS and GLONASS Dennis Wildermuth and Frank E. Schneider (EA)
An Approach to Improving Attitude Estimation Based on Low-Cost MEMS-IMU for Mobile Robot Navigation Lu Lou, Mark Neal, Frederic Labrosse, and Juan Cao (EA)
Covert Robotics: Improving Covertness with Escapability and Non-Line-of-Sight Sensing Tom Moore, Richard Ratmansky, Bob Chevalier, David Sharp, Vincent Baker, and Brian Satterfield (EA)
Results of the European Land Robot Trial and their Usability for Benchmarking Outdoor Robot Systems Frank E. Schneider and Dennis Wildermuth (EA)
Cooperative Navigation and Integration of a Human into Multi-robot System Joan Saez-Pose, Amir M. Naghsh and Leo Nomdedeu
Coordination in Multi-Tiered Robotic Search Paul Ward and Stephen Cameron (EA)
Distributed motion planning for ground objects using a network of robotic ceiling cameras Andreagiovanni Reina, Gianni Di Caro, Frederick Ducatelle, Luca Gambardella (FL)
Vision-Based Segregation Behaviours in a Swarm of Autonomous Robots Michael J. Price and Roderich Gross (EA)
Adaptive Particle Filter for Fault Detection and Isolation of Mobile Robots Micha? Zajac (EA)
Online Hazard Analysis for Autonomous Robots Roger Woodman, Alan F.T. Winfield, Chris Harper, and Mike Fraser (EA)
Grasping of Deformable Objects Applied to Organic Produce Alon Ohev-Zion and Amir Shapiro (EA)
Learning to grasp information with your own hands Dimitri Ognibene, Nicola Catenacci Volpi, and Giovanni Pezzulo (EA)
Solutions for a Variable Compliance Gripper Design Maria Elena Giannaccini, Sanja Dogramadzi, Tony Pipe (EA)

15:00 - 15:20 Tea Break
15:20 - 16:10 Manned Poster Session 2
16:10 - 17:10 Paper Session 7

16:10 - 16:30 Short-range Radar Perception in Outdoor Environments. Giulio Reina, James Underwood, and Graham Brooker
16:30 - 16:50 Supervised Traversability Learning for Robot Navigation. Ioannis Kostavelis, Lazaros Nalpantidis, and Antonios Gasteratos
16:50 - 17:10 Locomotion Selection and Mechanical Design for a Mobile Intra-abdominal Adhesion-reliant Robot for Minimally Invasive Surgery. Alfonso Montellano Lopez, Mojtaba Khazravi, Robert Richardson, Abbas Dehghani, Rupesh Roshan, Tomasz Liskiewicz, Ardian Morina, David G. Jayne, Anne Neville

17:10 - 17:40 Awards
Prof. Chris Melhuish
17:40 - 18:00 Announcement FIRA-TAROS 2012
Prof. Tony Pipe (University of The West of England, Bristol)
18:00 - 18:20 Launch SCentRO

Sheffield Centre for Robotics

by Professor Mike Smith (pro Vice Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University) and Prof. Richard Jones (pro Vice Chancellor, The University of Sheffield)

followed by Reception

18:20 - 19:00 Reception
drink and snacks will be offered
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Industry-Academia Day Back to Top

09:00 - 10:00 Plenary Session
Precision Farming and Agricultural Robotics
Simon Blackmore

Developed agriculture always needs to find new ways to improve efficiency. One approach is to utilise available information technologies in the form of more intelligent machines to reduce and target energy inputs in more effective ways than in the past. Precision Farming has shown benefits of this approach but we can now move towards a new generation of equipment. The advent of autonomous system architectures gives us the opportunity to develop a complete new range of agricultural equipment based on small smart machines that can do the right thing, in the right place, at the right time in the right way.

10:00 - 12:00 Exhibition / Demonstrations

12:00 - 13:15 Lunch Break

Parallel event: Launch of the Academic Forum for Robotics
(C. Buxton, BARA)

13:15 - 13:20 Panel Opening

13:20 - 14:40 Panel Topics

EU policy in Robotics
Libor Kral (EU Unit 5 Cognitive Systems and Robotics)
UK policy and investment in robotics
EU flagship Robot Companion
Tony Prescott (University of Sheffield, UK)
Electronics KTN / Autonomous Systems and Robotics
Geoff Pegman (Electronics KTN)
Aerospace, Aviation and Defence KTN
Daniel Jones

14:45 - 15:10 Panel discussion

Chair: Chris Melhuish, (Bristol Robotics Lab)

15:30 - 17:00 Exhibition and Demonstrations

Public Access.

17:00 - 17:30 Registration and Refreshments
17:30 - 18:30 Public Lecture: The Ethical Roboticist

Public Access. Organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology

The Ethical Roboticist by Professor Alan Winfield

"Where is robotics going?" is a question that receives a great deal of attention. The reason for this owes much to the fictional roots of robotics and the fact that robots have a significant place in our cultural imagination. Thus roboticists find themselves having to address fears and fascinations that often have little to do with the reality of robotics. This lecture will address the question of robotic futures by - as far as possible - unpicking the fantastical and the plausible. Like any transformative technology, intelligent robotics has the potential for huge benefit, but is not without risk. Seventy years ago Asimov created his fictional laws of robotics. I believe it is now time for a revision but, as I will argue in this lecture, it makes no sense to talk about how present-day or near-future robots can be ethical. I will, however, outline the case for a new ethical code for roboticists.

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Plenary Speaker

Joseph Ayers
Joseph Ayers was regretably unable to give the scheduled talk due to unforseen circumstances. The plenary talk was given by Frank W. Grasso

Plenary Speaker

Paul Newman
Paul Newman obtained an M.Eng. in Engineering Science from Oxford University in 1995. He then undertook a Ph.D. in autonomous navigation at the Australian Center for Field Robotics, University of Sydney. In 1999 he returned to the United Kingdom to work in the commercial sub-sea navigation industry. In late 2000 he joined the Dept of Ocean Engineering at M.I.T. where as a post-doc and later a research scientist, he worked on algorithms and software for robust autonomous navigation for both land and sub-sea agents. In early 2003 he returned to Oxford as a Departmental Lecturer in Engineering Science before being appointed to a University Lectureship in Information Engineering and becoming a Fellow of New College in 2005. He heads the Oxford Mobile robotics Research group and has research interests in pretty much anything to do with autonomous navigation but particularly Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping.

Plenary Speaker

Yiannis Demiris
Yiannis Demiris heads the Bioinspired Assistive Robots and Teams (BioART) laboratory at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Imperial College London, doing research on human-robot interaction, assistive robotics, and multirobot teams, with an emphasis on the mechanisms of development and learning. He received his PhD in Intelligent Robotics from the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the University of Edinburgh in 1999, and joined the faculty of Imperial College in 2001. He has organised several international conferences, including the IEEE conference on Development and Learning (ICDL-2007) as chair and the ACM/IEEE conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI-2008) as program chair. He has edited three books on robot learning and guest edited special journal issues of the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (Part-B) on Robot Learning by Demonstration and Imitation, and the journal of Adaptive Behaviour on developmental robotics. He has received fellowships from the European Science Foundation and AIST in Japan, and is a member of EPSRC college, and a senior member of the IEEE. He is participating in two European FP7 projects, ALIZ-E (Adaptive Strategies for Sustainable Long-Term interaction) and EFAA (Experimental Functional Android Assistant), while collaborating in industrial research projects with BAE Systems, and IBM.

Plenary Speaker

Simon Blackmore
Simon Blackmore is a discipline leader in Precision Farming and agricultural robotics with a world-wide reputation. He has worked in Greece, Denmark, the UK and has spent 6 years working in Africa. Simon is the managing director of his own company called Unibots Ltd that is commercialising academic research in mobile outdoor robots. Simon holds visiting Chairs at the University of Thessaly in Greece, Bristol Robotics Lab in UK, China Agric University, Beijing and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan and regularly gives keynote presentations around the world on robotic agriculture. Currently he is the manager of the EU "Farm of Tomorrow" project called FutureFarm. Simon latest project is setting up the European Agricultural Robotics Network.

Plenary Speaker

Alan Winfield
Prof. Alan Winfield Alan Winfield is Hewlett-Packard Professor of Electronic Engineering and Director of the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He conducts research in swarm robotics in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and is especially interested in robots as working models of life, evolution, intelligence and culture. Alan is passionate about communicating science and technology. He holds an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship with the theme Intelligent Robots in Science and Society, and blogs about robots, open science and related topics.

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