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Keynote Lectures

Human-Robot Intelligent Cooperation: Methodologies for Creating Human-Robot Heterogeneous Teams
Luís Paulo Reis, University of Porto, Portugal

Toward Design of a Robotic Companion
Krzysztof Tchon, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland

Control of Networked Distributed Pico-Satellite Systems -Small Satellites for Challenging Tasks
Klaus Schilling, University Würzburg, Germany

EU-funded Activities in Robotics Research and Innovation - From FP7 towards Horizon 2020
Libor Kral, , Luxembourg


Human-Robot Intelligent Cooperation: Methodologies for Creating Human-Robot Heterogeneous Teams

Luís Paulo Reis
University of Porto

Brief Bio
Available soon.


In the future, humans and robots will have to work together in complex environments, to solve difficult problems and perform hard tasks, as a team. Thus, methodologies to enable intelligent robot-robot and human-robot cooperation are needed in order to allow this joint work.
This talk will be focused on methodologies developed for creating multi-robot and human-robot heterogeneous teams with emphasis on the interaction/cooperation methodologies developed on the following projects: - FC Portugal, HearBot and Intellwheels. FC Portugal project developed methodologies for creating heterogeneous robotic soccer teams capable of following human/robot coach high-level advice using concepts such as strategy, tactics, formations and setplays. The project enabled our research groups to win 4 World and 10 European robotic soccer championships of distinct leagues/competitions, including simulation 2d, simulation 3d (humanoids), coach, rescue simulation, small-size and middle-size leagues. At HearBot, together with Honda-RI we developed human robot interaction methodologies enabling advanced interaction while the robots dance to the beat.
Finally, Intellwheels project developed the concept of Intelligent wheelchair (IW) with flexible human-robot interface. The user is capable of creating his own multimodal human-robot interaction language that may inclusively be learned from scratch and that may then be refined, using the human-robot interaction information, while the user drives the IW. The talk will be illustrated with videos, results and examples from these three projects.



Toward Design of a Robotic Companion

Krzysztof Tchon
Wroclaw University of Technology

Brief Bio

Krzysztof Tchon, PhD, DSc,  is a professor of  automation and robotics at the Institute of Computer Engineering, Control and Robotics, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland. For 25 years he has been in charge of the Department of  Fundamental Cybernetics and Robotics. His research interests concentrate on mathematical aspects of control systems and robotics, specifically, on geometric control, kinematic singularities of manipulation and mobile robots, and motion planning of non-holonomic systems. 
In the years 2008-2012 he was involved in the EU 7 FP project LIREC (LIving with Robots and intEractive Companions), aimed at providing a technology of building social robots - robotic companions for humans. The research team led by him has designed an expressive robotic head EMYS, and a robotic companion FLASH.
Professor K. Tchon has been an author or a co-author of nearly 200 publications, and a supervisor of 11 PhD theses.


A 50-year history of robotics shows  that  robots have been continuously  getting close to humans. This means that not only the physical, but also the social distance between robots and humans is decreasing.  The development of  robotic designs evolves  from a total robot-human separation in industrial and exploration applications, through service and assistive robots that get into physical contact with humans, until  symbiotic, interactive,  sentient, and social robots.  A robot may be called social, if he acts autonomously and can interact with humans using social cues. A  social robot capable of  accompanying a human for a longer time is called a robotic companion. This lecture is devoted to the design and control issues of  the robotic companion. The robot  FLASH, recently built in our laboratory within the European project LIREC (LIving with Robots and intEractive Companions), will serve as a reference frame. FLASH is a wheeled mobile robot moving on a balancing platform, equipped with a pair of arms with hands, and an emotive head. The presentation  focuses on the robot's appearance, communication,  control, and emotionality. Video demos show  human attitudes toward the robot and give an idea of the robot's  skills. Prospective advancements of  the companion design will be outlined.



Control of Networked Distributed Pico-Satellite Systems -Small Satellites for Challenging Tasks

Klaus Schilling
University Würzburg

Brief Bio

Prof. Dr. Schilling is Ordinarius for Robotics and Telematics at University Würzburg. In parallel he is president of the company „Center for Telematics“. Before he returned to academia, he was in space industry responsible for the design of interplanetary satellites (e.g.Huygens which landed 2005 on Titan, Rosetta to collect 2014 samples from a comet).  His team built the first German pico-satellite UWE-1 (University Würzburg's Experimental satellite) and operated it since 2005 successfully in orbit with the objective to optimize internet parameters for the space environment. His research interests focus on networked, cooperating vehicles, ranging from space to factory automation. Advanced transport robots for the flow of materials, for the transport of persons or for environment monitoring are investigated in his research group.
He was recipient of the Walter-Reis-Award for Innovation in Robotics 2008 and 2012. In 2012 he received the prestigeous Advanced Grant of the European Research Council for control of distributed small satellite systems.
In international professional organisations he serves in  IFAC since 2008 as chairman of "Technical Committee on Telematics" and in IEEE he was 2005 - 2011 chairman of the "Technical Committee on Networked Robotics".


The impressive progress in miniaturisation of electronics offers in space exploration interesting perspectives for a paradigm shift from traditional large multifunctional satellites towards distributed systems of multiple small satellites. Scientific challenges are related to establish cooperation by networked control via inter-satellite communication links and autonomous reaction capabilities. This will enable in particular innovative solutions for applications in Earth observation and telecommunication.

In this presentation the experiences from the UWE-Program (University Wuerzburg's Experimental satellites) to implement complete satellites at a mass of just 1 kg will be reported. So far the two satellites UWE-1 and -2 have been successfully placed in orbit 2005 and 2009. UWE-1 (University Würzburg's Experimental satellite) optimized internet in space, while UWE-2 investigated advanced attitude determination systems.
UWE-3 addresses attitude control and will be launched begin of 2013, while UWE-4 with focus on orbit control is in implementation stage.
Thus step by step a roadmap towards small satellite formation flying is realized and offers long-term perspectives for future UWE missions.
Efficient operations of such distributed systems raise challenging tasks combining control topics with approaches in communication, man-machine interfaces, tele-operations, autonomous reaction capabilities, sensor and data processing systems. Exchange of navigation data via communication links form the basis for local autonomous reaction capabilities, which are to be coordinated with remote human teleoperators, in particular in time critical situations.



EU-funded Activities in Robotics Research and Innovation - From FP7 towards Horizon 2020

Libor Kral


Brief Bio

Dr. Libor Kral is the Head of Unit A2 (Robotics) in the European Commission, DG CONNECT since July 1st, 2012. From July 2008 to June 2012, Dr. Kral was the Head of Unit E5 (Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics) in the European Commission DG INFSO and he was also Head of Unit E1 (Interaction & Interfaces) in the European Commission DG INFSO from June 2007 to June 2008. Previous to his engagement with the European Commission, he was the Quality Manager in TietoEnator - Czech Software Center in Ostrava from 2005-2007 and also a R&D Manager and Project Manager at IT Industry. Dr. Libor Kral graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic and his field of study was theoretical cybernetics, mathematical information science and systems theory.


In the 7th Framework Programme, more than 100 projects in the area of robotics and cognitive systems have been funded with the overall amount approaching €600 million, ranging from blue-sky to more applied research. The focus has been on robotics as an enabling technology for diverse applications in real-life. 2013 is the last year of FP7 and the relevant work programme presents a balance between continuity and transition towards the next Framework Programme (Horizon 2020). The new ingredients include more emphasis on industry-led RTD topics, substantially increased effort to attract new levels of industry participation and focus on use-cases in service robotics. Twenty new projects resulting from the last call for proposals in FP7 will start later this year.
The EC proposal of Horizon 2020 includes the establishment of so called Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to strengthen Europe‘s competitive position. European robotics community has been actively preparing a European PPP in robotics building on previous networking activities including the robotics researchers network EURON and the industry-driven European technology platform EUROP. The PPP in robotics will boost research and innovation in this field and will foster a positive perception of robotics. It will aim at strengthening competitiveness of manufacturers and providers of robotics technologies and services, the widest uptake by the users of robotics technologies and services as well as at the excellence of its science base.