Newsletter February-March 2018
 

CONTENTS

NEWS

Express you opinion on EU research and innovation funding under FP9

Sioli heads EU digital industry team

Professor on a mission

UK funding promised for drones for cities

Funding for robotics-lookalikes

NDT invitation to speak

IROS2018 goes to Madrid

SPARC/euROBOTICS NEWS

Support the Flagship initiative on robotics

European Robotics Forum 2018

All welcome at General Assembly

Topic groups get a boost

EUROPEAN ROBOTICS LEAGUE NEWS

ERL uses Edinburgh test bed for first time

Spanish university lays on ERL competition

EVENTS

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NEWS

Express you opinion on EU research and innovation funding under FP9

Make sure that your views on future EU funding for research and innovation are heard by responding to a European Commission consultation on funding for investment, research and innovation, small and medium-sized businesses and the single market.

The comments are expected to influence the commission’s proposals, expected this year, for the EU’s post-2020 long-term budget, the Multi-annual Financial Framework. There are parallel consultations, including one on cohesion funding

The investment, research and innovation consultation, in any of the official EU languages, ends on 8 March 2018. It should take about 30 minutes to complete.We would appreciate a high number of responses from various robotics stakeholders or groups. euRobotics itself will also prepare a position.

Find the consultation here and the questionnaire here

More information can be found on the webpages:

Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances

Commission Work Programme 2018

Commission contact: SG-OPC-INVESTMENT-SME-INNOVATION@ec.europa.eu

The cohesion consultation is here

Commission contact: REGIO-POST-2020-CONSULTATION@ec.europa.eu

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Sioli heads EU digital industry team

Lucilla Sioli is the new director for digital industry in the European Commission’s Communications Networks, Content and Technology department (DG CNECT). She was previously head of unit for digital economy and skills. She joined the Commission in 1997 and has worked on the digital economy, including broadband, as well as country monitoring. From 2015, she led the development of digital skills policies, managing the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and digitisation and labour markets.

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Professor on a mission

Mariana Mazzucato, professor of the economics of innovation and public value at University College London (UCL), is expected to help to help shape the EU’s post-2020 research and innovation programme, Framework 9, after being appointed a special adviser to the EU’s Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas. It is expected that a report will be available in the near future.

Mazzucato, who is the director of UCL's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, is advising on how to make EU science and innovation more “mission-oriented” — transforming societal challenges into concrete problems that multiple sectors and public and private bodies can solve by working together.

Mazzucato is a founding member of the European Commission expert group on Economic and Societal Impact of Research and Innovation.

Find her 2017 paper on mission-oriented innovation here.

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UK funding promised for drones for cities

The UK government has launched the Flying High Challenge to support up to five cities in research and development of drone technology that could “transform critical services”, typically in emergency health care and organ transport and assessment and repair of infrastructure.

The government said that the scheme would allow cities and people to collaborate with public services users, business, government and regulators to develop drones for cities.

There will be £500,000 (€567,000) for the scheme, which would be run by the innovation organisations Nesta and Innovate UK. Cities have been invited to register their interest.

Meanwhile, the UK government proposed new laws covering drones, including giving the police more powers to deal with the illegal and unsafe use of drones. The police would be able to order operators to ground drones and to seize drone parts to prove that offences have been committed. The government wants drone users to have to pass safety awareness tests and to register drones weighing more than 250g.

The ideas include making drone owners use apps to access information that is needed to make flights safe and legal. Drones could also be banned from flying above 130m or near airports.

The UK government claimed that the new laws would help to make the UK the leading drone technology developer, so that drone technology “could revolutionise businesses and public services”.

The proposed measures follow a UK government consultation on drones.

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Funding for robotics-lookalikes

If you are trying to combine digital devices, software, communication technologies and sensors which interact with the real world, you could be in line for funding and coaching from the Federation for Smart Anything Everywhere (FED4SAE), a project partly funded by the European Commission to help companies to develop cyber physical systems (CPSs).

About 35 successful bidders could receive up to €60,000 plus free technical and business coaching, to support development of CPSs. There will also be access to advanced technologies and existing industrial platforms.

The first call for proposals has just ended, but FED4SAE will issue two further calls, in May 2018 and in November 2018. Successful bidders could receive up to €100,000 from several calls.

The calls are open to companies with up to 3,000 employees.

Find details about FED4SAE here and details about the calls here

Contact: Isabelle Dor, Minatec Campus, 17 rue des Martyrs, F-38054 Grenoble Cedex, telephone: +33 438 785 970, email: isabelle.dor@cea.fr

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NDT invitation to speak

If you would like to tell industry about your latest advance in non-destructive testing (NDT), you can put yourself forward as a speaker at the Academia Meets Industry (AMI) Symposium on NDT event on 23–24 April 2018 in Bologna, Italy.

The event is linked to the Advanced European Infrastructures for Detectors at Accelerators-2020 (AIDA-2020) project to develop and test detectors for particle accelerators, which is supported by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The Bologna event will cover developments in NDT with a focus on technologies developed in AIDA-2020. There will be speakers from Politecnico di Milano, ISQ, INFN, Advacam and X-RIS.

To propose a speaker for the event or for more information contact Aurélie Pezous, knowledge transfer officer, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN): aurelie.pezous@cern.ch

Find event information here, communication material here and information about the last AMI here.

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IROS2018 goes to Madrid

euRobotics members can get a special exhibition deal at the Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) conference and fair in Madrid, Spain on 1–5 October 2018. The organisers, the scientific robotics societies IEEE and RSJ, expect more than 3,000 participants, including from nearly 200 universities and research centres, and the presentation of about 1,000 papers.

More information here

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SPARC/euROBOTICS NEWS

Support the Flagship initiative on robotics

We would like to invite you to join a robotics research initiative in response to a European Commission call for Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships — large multidisciplinary science- and technology-driven research initiatives built around a visionary unifying goal.

The commission's FET Flagship budget will be €1 billion over 10 years.

In the call that is open now, one-year Preparatory Actions will be funded as Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) for the preparation of FET Flagship proposals.

The proposed robotics Flagship is a timely initiative to ensure European leadership in an important technology for the future of European society and the economy. With years of public and private investment behind it, the European robotics community is well positioned to address the scientific, technological, and socioeconomic challenges of future robotics.

Our vision for a robotics Flagship offers a fresh approach to the robots of the future, encompassing both fundamental scientific questions and their translation to the real world. The proposal relies on a multidisciplinary participation, including engineering, computer science, material science, life and social sciences.

The FET Preparatory Action submission is in two phases and the deadline for the first phase is February 20, 2018. A small consortium is preparing the submission and, if the proposal is accepted, will organise the activities of the Preparatory Action.

If you share the vision, objectives and the approach of the Preparatory Action for a robotics Flagship join the proposal as a participant. Confirm your participation as soon as possible.

1. Please go to https://www.roboticsflagship.eu/participate/ and register as a participant. Multiple registrations of scientists from the same institution are allowed. Please specify your areas of research.

2. It is highly recommended that you upload a letter of endorsement from your institution. A large number of letters of endorsement would significantly strengthen the proposal and every letter counts.

3. Stronger support would be letters of endorsement from funding institutions such as ministries, regions, research agencies, foundations, companies, projects, scientific societies and associations. So, please obtain endorsement letters.

4. Please feel free to invite more participants, by forwarding the link for registration.

5. Any comment on the proposal, from the current abstract and the next proposal versions is more than welcome.

What will you get from participation?

1. You will be able to contribute to the success of the proposal for the Preparatory Action and to support it, directly and indirectly, through your contacts.

2. If the Preparatory Action is accepted, you can contribute to shaping the future Flagship on robotics.

3. You will be able to participate in the activities of the Preparatory Action, such as meetings and scientific events for preparation of a Flagship proposal, with possible reimbursement from the CSA.

Find details of the initiative here

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European Robotics Forum 2018

Register now

Do not forget to register for this year’s European Robotics Forum 2018 (ERF2018), the most influential meeting of the robotics community in Europe.

The ERF will be held in Tampere, Finland on 13-15 March 2018 and is expected to attract 1,000 of Europe’s robotics experts.

Find details of the ERF here

Programme

The ERF programme has been published, outlining 50 information-filled workshops with presentations by leading European experts from industry, business and the academic world, as well as European policy makers.

Find the programme here

Exhibition and sponsorship

You can promote your organisation to the European robotics community’s largest annual conference through exhibition and sponsorship.
Find details
here

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All welcome at General Assembly

All euRobotics members are invited to the association’s General Assembly on 12 March 2018, to take part in the election of eight members of the euRobotics board, a third of the total.

The General Assembly will be held in Tampere, Finland, the day before the start of the association’s European Robotics Forum.

You will also be able to take part in a discussion about the development of the association. In advance, you can submit comments or questions to be answered during the meeting. Find the online form here

Register for the general assembly, and for the ERF, here

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Topic groups get a boost

The euRobotics topic groups — which cover more than 30 areas of work — are to be revitalised, to help them to become more productive and to allow the results of their work to be exploited more widely.

The changes include new guidelines for the running of topic groups. The groups will also be expected to report regularly on their work, to increase the potential for fellow roboticists in all sectors of the community to act upon the topic group outcomes.

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EUROPEAN ROBOTICS LEAGUE NEWS

ERL uses Edinburgh test bed for first time

The recently-certified European Robotics League Service robots (ERL-SR) test bed at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, in the UK, hosted the first ERL-SR local tournament to be held in the city, on 22–26 January 2018.

The new Robotic Assisted Living Laboratory at Heriot-Watt is a ‘living-lab’ home-like environment for the user-driven design and testing of robotics for healthy ageing and independent living.

For the tournament, MEng students at Heriot-Watt modified the ERL competition benchmarking box software to interface it with the smart home middleware used in the laboratory. The changes may be incorporated in the next version of the benchmarking box software.

Three teams, with a total of 11 members, took part:

HEARTS, Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), UK

HOMER, University of Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz, Germany

IRL@ERL, Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial, CSIC-UPC, Barcelona, Spain

The event was organised by Mauro Dragone, from the Institute of Sensors, Signals and Systems at the School of Engineering Physical Science, Heriot-Watt, with undergraduate students and postgraduate researchers, with support from Meysam Basiri and Pedro Lima from the Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, Enrico Piazza from the Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, and Luca Iocchi, from the University of Rome La Sapienza.

The following task benchmarks (TBMs) and functionality benchmarks (FBMs) were tested:

TBM1: Getting to Know My Home

TBM2: Welcoming visitors

TBM3: Catering for granny Annie's comfort

TBM4: Visit My Home

TBM5 General Purpose Service Robot (shared with RoboCup@Home)

FBM3: Speech Recognition

For each benchmark, the five best runs were counted for each team and the final score for each team and benchmark was the median of the scores.

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Spanish university lays on ERL competition

Two teams from Spain and a joint team from Spain and Luxembourg competed in the European Robotics League Service Robots (ERL-SR) competition in León, Spain on 22-26 January 2018.

The event was held at the Módulo de Investigación en Cibernética – Escuela de Ingenierías Industrial e Informática, Universidad de León and was organised by Dr. Vicente Matellán and Dr. Camino Fernández in the robotics group of the University of León. The referee was Dr. Meysam Basiri, from ISR-Lisbon, Portugal.

Three teams, with a total of 11 members, were:

Robotics Lab Uc3M, from the University Carlos III de Madrid, had a TIAGo robot from Pal Robotics. It focused on navigation and entered the task benchmark (TBM) 1, TBM4 and functionality benchmark (FBM) 2 tests.

Outsiders, from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) and the University of Luxembourg, entered FBM3 (URJC) with a Pepper robot. The URJC members focused on navigation, while the Luxembourg member handled speech recognition.

Outsiders let the other teams try the Pepper standard software, which led to very interesting discussions about the characteristics of the robot versus those of the mobile manipulators used in the competition, said the organisers.

Leonbot from the University of León used an RB1 robot in the FBM1, FBM2 and TBM4 tests.

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EVENTS

13–15 March 2018

European Robotics Forum

Tampere, Finland

Details here


19–22 June 2018

Automatica

Munich, Germany

Details here

1–5 October 2018

IROS 2018 — IEEE/RSJ conference on intelligent robots and systems

Madrid, Spain

Details here

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GET INVOLVED

Please send comments and suggestions for items for future newsletters to vic.wyman@eu-robotics.net, +32 2 706 8368

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euRobotics AISBL is a Brussels-based international non-profit association supporting research, development and innovation in robotics. It is based in Brussels and has more than 250 member organisations. www.eu-robotics.net

Under the European Union's framework program Horizon 2020, euRobotics and the European Commission formed the public-private partnership SPARC, which has €700 million of funding from the Commission in 2014–20 to extend Europe’s leadership in civilian robotics.

SPARC includes the European Robotics League, which is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Website: www.robotics-league.eu. Twitter: @ERLrobotleague. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ERLrobotleague.

The RockEU2 Coordination Action is funded by the European Commission within the H2020 Framework programme (H2020-ICT-688441; February 2016–January 2018).

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