Acronym RoCKIn
Name Robot Competitions Kick Innovation in Cognitive Systems and Robotics
Funding Reference FP7-EU-601012
Dates 2013-01|2015-12

Robot competitions have proved to be an effective instrument to foster scientific research and push the state of the art in a field. Teams participating in a competition must identify best practice solutions covering a wide range of functionalities and integrate them into practical systems. These systems have to work in the real world, outside of the usual laboratory conditions. The competition experience helps to transfer the applied methods and tools to successful and high-impact real-world applications. Other effects of robot competitions are that young students are attracted to science and engineering disciplines, and that the relevance of robotics research is demonstrated to citizens. However, some limitations can emerge as competitions mature: The effort required to enter the competition grows and may present a barrier for the participation of new teams. A gap between benchmarking complete systems in competitions and benchmarking subsystems in research can develop and limit the usefulness of the competition results to industry.

The goal of RoCKIn is to speed up the progress towards smarter robots through scientific competitions. Two challenges have been selected for the competitions due to their high relevance and impact on Europes societal and industrial needs: domestic service robots (RoCKIn@Home) and innovative robot applications in industry (RoCKIn@Work). Both challenges have been inspired by activities in the RoboCup community, but RoCKIn will improve and extend them by introducing new and prevailing research topics, like natural interaction with humans or networking mobile robots with sensors in ambient environments, in addition to specifying concrete benchmark criteria for assessing progress.

The RoCKIn project

designs open domain testbeds for competitions targeting the two challenges and usable by researchers worldwide,
develops methods for benchmarking through competitions that allow to assess both particular subsystems as well as the integrated system,
organizes two robot competition events, each of them based on the two challenges and testbeds,
organizes camps open to student participants, so as to help new teams getting involved in the competitions, and
executes dissemination activities to target stakeholders in industry and academia, as well as the general public.

Research Groups Intelligent Robots and Systems Group (IRSg)
Project Partners U. Rome La Spaienza (IT), Bonn-Rhein Sieg University (G), KUKA Labs (G), Politecnico di Milano (IT), Security Challenge (UK)
ISR/IST Responsible
Pedro Miraldo
Aamir Ahmad
Luís Custódio
Pedro Lima