Advancing Research Through Robot Competition – A reflection from academia, sponsors, and the public focuses on the outcomes of robot competitions. This workshop will focus on all types of robotic competitions and not just those are swarm robotics related. This workshop is a follow on to our previous workshop, The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Virtual Early Applied Research Discovery & Innovation (D&I) Swarm Robotics Workshop 2. Workshop 2 was a follow-up to explore topics that arose from the first workshop and to better inform ONR on a potential swarm D&I program. The first workshop focused on the general discussion of what it would take to advance swarms past basic research and to bridge the reality gap. Two primary topics stood out from the workshop as areas to explore, a reference mission and a common testbed. The goal for the second workshop was to bring together top experts in the field of swarm robotics to discuss these topics in more detail and to understand where the gaps are. The key topics of early applied research were found to be: logistics; metrics; transition between simulation and the real-world; scalability; behaviors; perception; adaptability, robustness, and resilience; and working with academia.

    • Workshop 3 (this workshop) specifically focuses on transitions between simulation and the real-world as well as working with academia.

    • Key objectives for this workshop will be to determine:

    • 1. The common technical challenges/assumptions within the robot competitions.

    • 2. The common critical gaps that arise from the simplifications used in the competitions.

    • 3. The common constraints imposed in the competitions (safety, battery life, communication, etc.) and why were they imposed.

    • 4. What we learn from competitions?

    • 5. The major benefits/takeaways?

This workshop will feature handpicked experts in the pertaining fields to give lectures covering these topics. This workshop will also accept paper submissions by researchers on this topic. Authors of the top papers will have a chance to present their work via an oral presentation and/or a poster session. It is currently planned to have four to six invited speakers and up to five top paper presentations. The number of poster presentations will depend on the quality of submitted documents.

It is currently planned to have three of the invited speakers and two top papers presented in the morning session followed by an independent lunch. The afternoon session will start off with a fourth invited speaker and three more top paper presentations. Finally, there will be a 30 minute moderated discussion with the goal of answering the questions: 1) What are the common technical challenges/assumptions within robot competitions, 2) what are the common critical gaps that arise from the simplifications used in the competitions, and 3) what are the common constraints imposed in the competitions (safety, battery life, communications, etc) and why were they imposed. This session be followed by closing remarks. The workshop will be a synchronous in-person/virtual workshop. The primary goals of this workshop are to continue the international dialog on the above topic, encourage discussion across disciplines, and identify important future research questions to advance the transition between a lab setting and the real world within the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, and sensing. It will serve as an international extension to previous workshops held in the US, Korea, Japan, and Virtually, which assisted in defining a forward-looking research agenda of interest to potential sponsors, and fostered awareness and coordination across related research efforts (Lofaro, Knott, Steckman, & Chen, UR-2020) (Coker, Stack, Buzzell, Sofge, Chabot, Maxseiner, Matejevich, & Lofaro, ONR-2020) (Lofaro, Ravi, Sofge, Knott, Steckman, & Chen, UR-2021) (Coker, Stack, Buzzell, Sofge, Chabot, Maxseiner, Schuler, & Lofaro, ONR-2021) (Lofaro, NAML-2021)

An additional desired outcome of this workshop is to promote research relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world. To facilitate this we will also have a dedicated time to allow non-U.S. researchers to propose, or “pitch,” projects that they think would be appropriate to be funded as a U.S. and non-U.S. collaboration. These pitches will be done in a private setting and are planned to occur during the poster session.

Important Dates:

  • Submission Opens: March 7, 2022

  • Submission Deadline: May 20, 2022

  • Submission Response May 27, 2022

  • Workshop day (Hybrid): Monday, July 4th 2022

Topics of Interest

  • Robot competitions

  • Transition from lab to the real world

  • Methods of winning robot competitions

  • How to create a robot competition

  • How to construct a robot competition to get progress in the right direction

  • Simulation to real-world

Robot Challenges Spotlighted

  • DARPA Robot Challenge

  • DARPA Grand Challenge



  • ONR Robot-X

  • ONR Hack the Machine


  • Swarm Search and AI

  • Service Academy Swarm Challenge

  • Robot X Prize

  • Amazon Picking Challenge

  • Battle Bots

  • Sea Perch

  • Etc.

Organizing Committee:

Dr. Shridhar Ravi

University of New South Wales


Donald Sofge

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


Tristan Schuler

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


Advisory Committee:

  • Daniel M. Lofaro Ph.D – Office of Naval Research Global, Tokyo / U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C. - +1-202-378-8964 – daniel.lofaro@nrl.navy.mil

  • Coker, Ayodeji Ph.D - Office of Naval Research, Washington D.C. - ayodeji.coker1@navy.mil

  • Christine Buzzell – Office of Naval Research, Washington D.C. - christine.buzzell@navy.mil

  • Laura Steckman, PhD, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington VA, o: +1 703-696-7556, e: laura.steckman.1@us.af.mil

  • Eugene Chabot Ph.D – Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport Rhode Island – eugene.chabot@navy.mil

  • Fumin Zhang Ph.D – Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GA, fumin@gatech.edu

© Workshop on Advancing Research Through Robot Competition at the 19th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Ubiquitous Robots

Jeju, S. Korea and Online (Hybrid) - Monday, July 4th, 2022