13 Feb 2011 cultibot   » (Observer)

An Initiative to Keep America's Robotics Roadmap Relevant

Did you know the United States has a roadmap for robotics? It does! In 2006, a one-day workshop titled Science and Technology Challenges for Robotics was organized by George Bekey of USC, Vijay Kumar of UPenn, and Matthew Mason of CMU. A summary report of that workshop states There was an enthusiastic response to the workshop with over 85 participants. Discussions had to be cut short because of time constraints. This could clearly have been a two-day workshop. There were many volunteers who were ready to take on more responsibilities to promote the discipline. (Vijay Kumar has recently been interviewed on Robots Podcast and was mentioned on Robots.net even more recently.)

During the process which followed that workshop, Matthew Mason and Henrik Christensen of Georgia Tech collaborated on an essay which summarized the state of robotics and previewed the findings of the effort to produce a roadmap for robotics. (Before occupying the KUKA Chair of Robotics at Georgia Tech's College of Computing, Henrik Christensen was the founding Chairman of EURON, the European Robotics Research Network.)

The final roadmap report was presented in May, 2009, before the Congressional Robotics Caucus, however, in the effort to produce that report, the call for the formation of an American Robotics Network (9th slide) appears to have fallen by the wayside.

On January 22nd, Professor Christensen posed the question Are we ready for an American Robotics Network on his blog, saying that he had started a discussion regarding the organization of an American Robotics Network. He has also discussed the formation of such a network in a brief essay on his website. In the recent blog post, he says I would like to get this underway as soon as possible to make sure that we can leverage the momentum from a National Robotics Initiative. It will also be an important mechanism to make sure that we can maintain a push forward.

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