[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] CALL FOR PARTICIPATION - 2016 Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC'16)

Lino Marques lino at isr.uc.pt
Tue Nov 17 01:30:53 PST 2015

IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Humanitarian Robotics and Automation 
Technology Challenge (HRATC)
ICRA'16, Stockholm, Sweden, May, 2016

*Upcoming deadline: Description Papers due Dec. 14th*

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 third Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology 
Challenge (HRATC) at the 2016 International Conference on Robotics and 
Automation (ICRA’16).

Following on the footsteps of the success of the HRATC Challenge that 
was held at ICRA’14 in Hong Kong and ICRA’15 in Seattle, this HRATC 
edition will continue to focus on promoting the development of new 
strategies for autonomous landmine detection using a mobile (ground) 
robot. The Challenge will take place in three phases: 1) Simulation 
Phase, 2) Testing Phase, and 3) Challenge Phase. 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; and landmine avoidance. 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 

All teams will use the same robot, called FSR-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.

How To Participate in the Challenge
All potential participants should submit a paper (1-2 pages) in the 
standard IEEE format including figures that describes the motivation and 
previous experiences/research (if any). The organizers will then 
evaluate this paper and an acceptance notification containing further 
steps would follow. All submissions should be sent to 
<hratc2016 at gmail.com>. The Challenge will take place remotely in 
Coimbra, Portugal, and beamed in real time to the Stockholm Waterfront 
Congress Centre during ICRA’16. Necessary logistics and travel support 
will be provided depending on the number of qualifying teams.

More details on HRATC’14 and HRATC’15 can be found at 
http://www.isr.uc.pt/HRATC2014/ and http://www.isr.uc.pt/HRATC2015/, 
respectively, and from following summary published in the IEEE-RAS RAM: 
“2015 Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge” by 
Madhavan, R.; Marques, L.; Prestes, E.; Maffei, R.; Jorge, V.; Gil, B.; 
Dogru, S.; Cabrita, G.; Neuland, R.; Dasgupta, P. IEEE-RAS Robotics and 
Automation Magazine, Sept. 2015.

The IEEE RAS–SIGHT is the first 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, RAS-SIGHT has been organizing Challenges and funding small 
projects centered on humanitarian causes.
for more details.

The Challenge organizers thank the FP7-TIRAMISU project 
(http://www.fp7-tiramisu.eu/) and Clearpath Robotics, Inc. for their 
support and partnership in organizing HRATC’16.

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