Robotic Applications for the Next Millennium, addressing the task performance of field and service robots, will be the topic of the Second International Conference on Field and Service Robotics--FSR'99 hosted by Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, August 29-31 on the university campus.
"This conference will bring together researchers and end-users to review and discuss issues facing the transition of field and service robotics from laboratory to daily use," said conference co-chairman John Bares, director of the university's National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC). "I'm excited about the conference because its application-focused like the NREC."
Applications to be addressed include the task performance of field and service robots that are placed in challenging conditions and are forced to cope. "For example," Bares said, "a floor-cleaning robot might accomplish its task in many rooms, but be baffled by a chair or desk that is out of place compared to how it was situated the day before. Likewise, a concrete leveling machine might perform correctly until faced with an irregular floor shape." Mobile robots must also guarantee the safety of humans in their surroundings. The challenge is to develop robotic sensors that can see humans in all weather conditions. Safety of all personnel remains a crucial issue.
Seven plenary speakers will present topics based on their research, ranging from snake-inspired robots to multi-legged robots to those that operate in unpredictable subsea environments. The speakers include Robert Full, University of California Berkeley; Shigeo Hirose, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan); John Hollerback, University of Utah; Peter Corke, CSIRO (Australia); William (Red) Whittaker, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon; Dana Yoerger, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Tad McGeer, president, Insitu Group. Speaker credentials and research topics are listed on the FSR Web site: http://voronoi.sbp.ri.cmu.edu.
In addition to the plenary speakers, more than 50 conference papers will be presented during the three-day event. There also will be tours of the Robotics Institute, including the NREC. Several robots will be demonstrated each day as well.