[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] 2015 Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC'15)

Raj Madhavan madhavan.ieeeras at gmail.com
Mon Oct 13 17:38:27 PDT 2014

IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Humanitarian Robotics and Automation 
Technology Challenge (HRATC)
ICRA'15, Seattle, May 2015

According to the UN Mine Action Service, landmines kill 15,000-20,000 
people every year (mostly children) and maim countless more across 78 
countries. Demining efforts cost US$ 300-1000 per mine, and, for every 
5000 mines cleared, one person is killed and two are injured. Thus, 
clearing post-combat regions of landmines has proven to be a difficult, 
risky, dangerous and expensive task with enormous social implications 
for civilians. Motivated by these considerations, the IEEE Robotics & 
Automation Society - Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology 
(RAS-SIGHT) is inviting the academic and non-academic community to 
participate in the second Humanitarian Robotics and Automation 
Technology Challenge (HRATC) at the 2015 International Conference on 
Robotics and Automation (ICRA’15).
The 2015 edition of HRATC will focus on promoting the development of new 
strategies for autonomous landmine detection using a mobile (ground) 
robot. The strategies developed by the participating teams will be 
objectively and quantitatively evaluated according to the following 
criteria: exploration time and environmental coverage; detection and 
classification quality, i.e., when a metallic object is detected, it 
should be classified correctly as a landmine or non-landmine; landmine 
avoidance, i.e., while navigating, the robot should not go over 
landmines. The Challenge will take place in three phases: 1) Simulation 
Phase, 2) Testing Phase, and 3) Challenge Phase. Teams will be 
progressively eliminated after each phase and the remaining teams would 
move on to the next phase culminating in the Challenge (Finals) phase at 
It should be noted that the teams do not need to purchase or build a 
robot instrumented with sensors or any of the accompanying software. 
Every team can participate remotely in each of the phases.

All potential participants should submit a paper (2-3 pages maximum) in 
the standard IEEE format including figures that describes the 
motivation, previous experiences and research (if any), and the main 
techniques that will be used during the Challenge. The organizers will 
then evaluate this paper and an acceptance notification containing 
further steps would follow. All submissions should be sent to 
<hratc2015 at gmail.com>.
All teams will use the same robot, called Husky, that will be available 
before (for remote practice runs) and during the Challenge. Furthermore, 
participants will have access to a ROS-based simulator to develop and 
test their code before testing it remotely on the real robot.
The Challenge will take place remotely in Coimbra, Portugal, and beamed 
in real time to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle during 
ICRA’15. Necessary logistics and travel support will be provided 
depending on the number of qualifying teams. Further information about 
the 2014 Challenge is available from http://www.isr.uc.pt/HRATC2014/.

IEEE RAS-SIGHT is the first and only IEEE Society to have a SIGHT! The 
mission of RAS-SIGHT is the application of robotics and automation 
technologies for promoting humanitarian causes around the globe, and to 
leverage existing and emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity 
and towards increasing the quality of life in underserved, 
underdeveloped areas in collaboration with existing global communities 
and organizations. To engage the international community in these 
causes, since 2014, RAS-SIGHT is organizing an HRATC in RAS-sponsored 
conferences. See 
for more details.

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