[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] Korea/US Workshop on "Toward the Next Generation of Robotic Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief: Fundamental Enabling Technologies"

Daniel Lee ddlee at seas.upenn.edu
Mon Jun 22 09:57:13 PDT 2015

Call for Participation for the Korea-US/US-Korea Workshop on

"Toward the Next Generation of Robotic Humanitarian Assistance
and Disaster Relief: Fundamental Enabling Technologies"

Dates and Venue:
 Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2015: Jeju Island, Korea 

As robotic technologies continue to advance, a high level of
expectation arises that robots serve as pivotal facilitators toward
next generation systems for humanitarian assistance and disaster
relief. In the near future, robots with superior adaptability,
intelligence and autonomy are expected to team up with human relief
workers to prevent and relieve potential consequences from both
natural and man-made disasters. Rapidly deployable yet highly
effective robotic systems may become available to support a broader
scope of relief activities in response to, but not limited to, such
disasters as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and tsunamis,
storms, nuclear contaminations, wild and urban fires, bio-chemical
emergencies, structural collapses, ship wrecks, oil spills, droughts
and famines, mining disasters, epidemics, mine explosions, et. al. It
is desirable that these robotic missions be designed to assist
starting from detection of early warning signs to intervention and
recovery once the event has transpired. These systems are critically
needed as first responders in harsh, dangerous and unreachable
environments in addition to promoting the safety and quality of
service of human relief workers.

Past attempts at utilizing robots to support humanitarian assistance
and disaster relief for major disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
disaster have not been as successful as anticipated in achieving their
objectives. One fundamental reason behind such disappointment is due
to the large gap between what current robotic technologies can offer
and the harsh demands of disaster environments. In particular, robots
deployed at the disaster sites often exhibit brittleness, exposing
deficiencies in robustness and adaptability in their performance as
well as in user acceptability. In order to overcome these deficiencies
and enable successful robotic missions in the near future, it is
imperative to identify existing gaps and shortcomings in robotic
systems and promote fundamental breakthroughs in key technological
areas to bridge those gaps.

To this end, brief white-papers are solicited from concerned
researchers in the US and South Korea to identify fundamental enabling
technologies needed to overcome deficiencies and brittleness of
current robotic systems. Authors of selected white-papers will be
invited to an organizational workshop for presentations and open
discussions. In collaboration with workshop participants, we intend to
produce a short integrative report summarizing current issues and
proposed research approaches, including a prioritized list of
fundamental enabling technologies necessary for further
development. The report and list of priorities will form the basis for
developing a jointly funded program for US-Korea/Korea-US
collaborative research projects sponsored by DoD/US and MOTIE/Korea,
starting 2016-2017.

Topics of Interest:
The research topics of interest for the white-papers include, but not
limited to:
- Surveillance and reconnaissance for disaster prevention and early detection
- Perception and modeling for improved situational awareness
- Search and rescue support for post-disaster and emergency relief operations
- Sliding autonomy for operator control and human-robot interaction
- Rapid delivery of life-saving supplies and equipment to victims
- Evacuation assistance from remote locations

Focus on Fundamental Research:
Since the workshop aims at identifying critical technological
breakthroughs needed to bridge existing gaps between current systems
and the demanding realities at disaster sites, we emphasize that the
proposed approaches should address key fundamental issues; examples of
potential research themes may include but are not limited to the
- In-situ adaptability to wide environmental variations in terms of
 morphology, mobility, perception, manipulation, decision-making, and
 interaction with relief workers, including self-repair and
- Expanded capacity of intelligence and autonomy to be shared with
 operators, including shared perception and understanding as well as
 collaborative teamwork with human operators.
- Advances in perception, information management, reasoning and
 understanding, as well as in the dexterity of mobility and
 manipulation for integrated contextual decision-making and
- Ensuring on-site robustness and adaptability in terms of tools,
 sensor suites, methodologies and platforms with enhanced rapidity,
 responsiveness, efficiency and ease of use.
- Scalable teaming of autonomous systems and human workers with shared
 mission intent and execution.

Guidelines for White-Paper Proposals:
White-papers should be at most two pages in length, printable on 8-1/2
by 11 inch paper and written in English clearly stating the objective
of the proposed investigation, research issues that need to be solved
and the proposed approaches to solving these issues. An additional
page can be used to introduce the authors, their experience and
background, along with their relevant publications.
White papers should be submitted to:
Prof. Daniel Lee at the University of Pennsylvania,
<ddlee at seas.upenn.edu> from the US side and
Prof. Sukhan Lee at Sungkyunkwan University,
<Lsh1 at skku.edu> from the Korean side.

Important Dates:
- July 24: White-paper proposal submission deadline
- August 15: Notification of acceptance
- October 31-November 2: Workshop program

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