AMRON / US - Robotics
During 2007 an effort was created to formulate a US national roadmap for robotics. The effort was sponsored by the CCC. The roadmap is available at www.us-robotics.us. The document was presented to the US Congressional Caucus on Robotics during May 2009. Following this a national initiative for robotics has been proposed.
The US National Roadmap was made possible for active work by more than 150 people across academia, institutions and industry. Following the initial effort it has been proposed to organize an American Robotics Network siimlar in spirit to the European Robotics Network - EURON. The network will, at least, initially be entirely voluntary. The effort is expected to include 4 different initiatives
- Research Planning / Roadmapping
- Education and Outreach
- Dissemination and Publicity
- Industrial Liaison and Technology Transfer
Research Planning and Roadmapping
The CCC roadmap is an excellent starting point but there is a need to update it over time and there is a need to provide quantitative measures for progress. There is a need to define benchmarks for progress and associated mechanisms to enable exchange of research across institutions as we have started to see using standard software tools such as ROS, RDS and OROCOS. It is anticipated that the roadmap initially will be revised every two years, as a planning tool for discussion and launch of different efforts.
Education and Outreach
Many lecturers spend significant time preparing excellent lectures and lab exercises. There is a need to share this material as a point of inspiration to others and to create a repository with great illustrations, pictures and video clips to have a single point of entry to assist in preparation of lecture material across the community.
In addition there is an interest to explore the creation of summer schools that are topical. Not all institutions have access to world class experts across all topics. Summer schools is a great mechanism to provide high quality lecturers from the most prominent people in the field and to provide access to such people for graduate students. This is a model that has been tested extensively in Europe, Japan and Korea and also been tested in related areas such as CPS. AMRON will consider such mechanisms for community integration and as an educational tool. At the time mechanisms for reaching out to high schools, minority groups, and K-12 will be pursued.
Dissemination and Publicity
Robotics has the advantage that it is engaging and "fun". Relatively it is easy to achieve media coverage with such technology. At the same time it is important to recognize that a single story in a major news media migth have more impact than 50 scientific publications. There is thus a need to work actively with media to provide access to the latest results within the community. Robotics is sometimes seen as a "job-killer", that will eliminate jobs and lead to increased challenges for the economy. It is important to consider that viewpoint and to actively communicate the reality that robotics is a key technology to in-shore manufacturing and retain jobs. At the same time robotics is key to improved healthcare and assistance to to people in their homes to provide them with extended autonomy. Robotics is also key to homeland security in terms of removing first-responders from the direct action and to allow them to operate at a safe stand-off distance, and robotics is already widely used in the military. AMRON will work actively with journalists and writers to provide up-to-date information about robotics and its implications.
Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer.
A broad robotics program can only be successful if the results are taken up by the broader community. Industry take up of results is thus essential to success. Through in industry liaison effort we plan to document good examples of technology transfer to work with venture capital companies and start-up incubators to provide examples and mechanisms for technology transfer. The technology transfer effort will have a strong links to current companies that utilize robotics and to major robotics providers. There is an expectation that this effort will have a direct link to industry organizations such as the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC) and the robot industry association (RIA)
Update NSF has sponsored the initial setup of a robotics virtual organization - the DC lingo for a robotis network. The network is currently under formation, but details are emerging at the web-site - www.robotics-vo.us / www.robotics-vo.org. Please check the web-site for details