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NSF and Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Workshop to develop a Research Roadmap for Robotics in Manufacturing and Automation

POSTED 04/11/2008


Henrik Christensen, Georgia Tech
Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley
Vijay Kumar, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Jeff Trinkle, RPI

Arlington/Washington DC area
9am - 5pm, June 17, 2008
(All expenses for approved participants will be covered by CCC)

This special one-day NSF Sponsored workshop will 1) identify a focused set of major U.S. research goals for robotics related to manufacturing and automation, and 2) to develop a roadmap for achieving these research goals in the coming decade. The workshop will include American leaders in academia, industry and government. Although the American robotics research community is highly diversified, analogous efforts in Europe and Japan to reach consensus and develop unified research roadmaps for their regions have been extremely successful in creating new partnerships and attracting major research funding .  There will likely be an opportunity to briefly share a summary of the preliminary thoughts resulting from the workshop at a meeting the next day of the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Robotics in Washington, DC .

With the signing of the America Competes Act on August 9, 2007, Congress is authorized to appropriate $33.6 billion into new science and technology programs, which presents an opportunity to revitalize America's attitude toward manufacturing. Investing a small portion of our national resources into a science of cost-effective, resource-efficient manufacturing would benefit American consumers and support the millions of workers in this vital sector of the US economy. A new research roadmap could benefit health care, agriculture, and transportation, and strengthen our national resources in defense, energy, and security.

The robotics industry in the manufacturing and service sectors is over $10B worldwide with a growth rate estimated to be around 8% annually. While the manufacturing sector, which accounts for 11% of employment in the U.S., continues to be an important part of our economy, the U.S. balance of trade in manufactured goods is dropping at an alarming $50 billion per decade. Robotics and automation science and technology have the potential to reverse the downward spiral.  The U.S. has the potential to again be at the forefront of global innovation and manufacturing.

In the past decade, advances in computing and information science have transformed the service sector. During this period, robotics science and technology has matured to the point where it can have a similar effect on manufacturing and automation. What is needed is a focused set of research goals for applying robotics science to design, manufacturing and automation.  This workshop will identify research goals that benefit newly forming companies, markets, and industries based on emerging technology that enable robots to operate in new environments, in new application areas, and in new paradigms.  Basic research and development are needed to develop the mathematical frameworks, rigorous modeling and algorithmic approaches are needed for design and manufacturing, and new technologies must be developed for new processes.


In this highly focused meeting, brainstorming sessions will focus on robotics for manufacturing and automation and will identify (a) core competency areas for U.S. research and development; (b) new application areas that will maximize socio-economic impact; and (c) formulation of the roadmap.

Travel, meals, and lodging expenses for up to 30 approved participants will be reimbursed by the CCC.

We encourage interested experts from industry, government, and academia to submit a short proposal via email by 23 April:

1) name, affiliation, and contact info
2) 2-3 broad research ideas relevant tot he goals above.

Proposals must be under 2 pages in plain text or .pdf format.  Please put 'CCC Research Roadmap Proposal' on the subject line.  Please email to [email protected] and check back if you do not receive a confirmation within one week.  Selected applicants will be notified by 15 May.

Due to funding limitations, we can accept only 30 participants. Accepted proposals will be distributed to by 1 June.  Anyone that submits a proposal will receive a copy of the final workshop report and info on how they might participate in the CCC robotics effort.