[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] CFP: ICRA'15 Full-day WS 'Robotics & Automation Technologies for Humanitarian Applications: Where we are & Where we can be'

Raj Madhavan madhavan.ieeeras at gmail.com
Tue Dec 9 16:51:12 PST 2014

ICRA'15 Full-day WS:***Robotics & Automation Technologies for 
Humanitarian Applications: Where we are & Where we can be*
http://www.isr.uc.pt/RATHA2015/ & http://icra2015.org/

Raj Madhavan (Univ. of Maryland, College Park, USA & IEEE RAS-SIGHT) 
<raj.madhavan at ieee.org>
Edson Prestes (Federal Univ. of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil) 
<prestes at inf.ufrgs.br>
Lino Marques (Univ. of Coimbra, Portugal) <lino at isr.uc.pt>

Robotics & Automation (R&A) technologies have the potential to transform 
and positively impact the lives of several people around the globe by 
addressing some of the world's toughest and unsolved challenges and 
elevating the quality of life for humanity. Many of the underlying 
theoretical frameworks of existing R&A technologies are at a sufficient 
level of maturity and are widely accepted by the academic community 
after having undergone the scientific rigor and peer reviews that 
accompany such works. Yet, several of these frameworks, when subjected 
to the demands of deployment in practical situations, reveal their 
brittleness and lack of robustness (e.g. Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 
the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster). A 
fundamental reason behind such failures is that there exists a chasm 
between technological innovators and humanitarian field workers: 
Innovators rarely know what technological tools humanitarian workers 
in-the-trenches need; and only humanitarian field workers know what 
innovations are truly sustainable. Developing sustainable tools, 
methodologies, and robotic hardware platforms with useful sensor suites, 
and identifying gaps and initiating a dialog between different 
stakeholders will help alleviating suffering and will increase the 
effectiveness and/or efficiency of humanitarian workers on the ground.

In this workshop, we propose to bring together researchers, 
practitioners, humanitarian relief workers, responders, analysts from 
the field and humanitarian aid agencies, and foundations from several 
countries to understand the current and future role R&A technologies 
play in alleviating suffering of humanity in times of need. The proposed 
workshop will allow for the discussion and identification of the use of 
R&A technologies applied to humanitarian efforts and gaps in dealing 
with natural calamities and man-made disasters. Emphasis will be placed 
on important factors that need to be taken into consideration such as 
environmental, cultural, structural, political and socio-economic and 
resource constraints while developing R&A solutions that can be 
developed, deployed, and sustained.

The workshop will, thus, consist of presentations of research, 
first-hand experiences and field knowledge, both as invited and regular 
talks addressing the monitoring (e.g. early warning preventative 
systems) and/or the support of post-disaster and emergency relief 
operations (e.g., search and rescue) of several humanitarian areas from 
different ends of the technological spectrum and end-users, including 
but not limited to:
- Avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions
- Floods and tsunamis
- Wind storms (hurricanes, tornadoes)
- Mining and mineral disasters
- Pollution monitoring and cleaning (e.g. oil spills, inland water 
monitoring, ...)
- Chemical emergencies from industrial accidents
- Nuclear incidents and similar cleanup efforts of contaminated sites
- Structural collapse (e.g. bridge and dam failures)
- Fires (wild and urban)
- Demining (landmine detection and clearance)

If you're working in the above areas and if the goals of the WS are of 
interest to you, we would love to hear from you! We are also soliciting 
presentations from NGOs, regulatory and funding agencies.

Interested? Please send us a 2-3 page (max.) writeup of your background 
and experience and selected results in fielded domains. In addition, 
include a separate section in your writeup on how your 
participation/presentation would benefit the WS. Note that you're not 
required to write a paper but  your presentation will be archived for 
the benefit of the community on the WS website at 

Depending on the level of interest, selected presenters would be invited 
to write an article for a special issue journal reporting on their 
experiences and lessons learnt during field deployments. Along with your 
writeup, let us know if you would be interested in submitting an article 
to such a special issue.

- Deadline for submission: Jan. 22, 2015
- Notification of Acceptance: Feb. 27, 2015
- WS Date: May 26th or May 30th, 2015 (to-be-confirmed)

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