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Special Issue "Robotics in Extreme Environments"
A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2019.
Director, National Centre for Nuclear Robotics
Director, Birmingham Extreme Robotics Lab
Director, A.R.M Robotics Ltd.
Chair in Robotics, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Interests: autonomous grasping and manipulation; computer vision and sensing and perception; AI and machine learning; mechanical design and kinematics and dynamics; variable autonomy and shared control and mixed initiative systems; human factors and human-robot interfaces
We are pleased to invite you to submit your papers to this Special Issue of Robotics, "Robotics in Extreme Environments". Extreme environments can be defined as those that are so hazardous that it would be undesirable or impossible to send a human worker into the environment. Such applications are of special importance to the robotics research community, because they demand the use of robots and often cannot be done at all without major new advances in robotics. In contrast, while research on, e.g., household helper robots is certainly interesting, such jobs can still be done by human workers if needed at the present time.
Extreme environment applications also include those of major societal and economic importance, making these applications central to enabling advanced robotics research to have real and substantial societal and economic impact. For this reason, the UK’s new Industrial Strategy has recently invested £93million into R&D on robotics and AI for Extreme Environments, the European Commission has invested in several major €multi-million robotics projects in this area via their Horizon 2020 robotics funding programme, and other nations are increasingly following suit.
A particularly important example of Extreme Environment robotics applications is that of nuclear decommissioning. The UK alone contains an estimated 4.9 million tons of legacy nuclear waste, the largest environmental remediation task in Europe, which is expected to cost up to £220 billion and take more than 100 years to complete. Worldwide decommissioning costs are of order $1 trillion. Cleaning up the environment for future generations is of major societal impact, and this is also an industry of major economic importance, where the use of advanced robotics will be key. This is a high-consequence industry, which is understandably very conservative about new technologies. The industry has previously had remarkably little penetration of robotics technologies, and no use of autonomy whatsoever. However, very recent landmark work has now achieved autonomous robot control inside radioactive environments for the first time, and the industry is now starting to embrace these new technologies.
Other extreme environment applications of robotics include: Inspection and maintenance of underwater and offshore infrastructure; space and planetary exploration; exploitation of increasingly deep mines; bomb disposal; rescue robotics; asbestos removal from older buildings; replacing human workers on construction sites; and numerous other applications.
This Special Issue aims to introduce the latest research progress in the field of robotics for Extreme Environments. A very wide variety of highly interdisciplinary work is needed, and research in these diverse areas is welcomed for submission to the Special Issue. Areas for submission include, but are not limited to:
- Both autonomous methods and also teleoperation which is critical to EE applications.
- Grasping and manipulation.
- Mobility systems (walking, flying, swimming, crawling, etc.).
- Exploration, mapping and navigation in unknown or partially known environments.
- Vision, sensing and perception.
- AI and learning for industrial objects and scenes in extreme applications.
- Mechanical, materials and other design issues of novel robots and sensors.
- Human-robot interfaces, including teleoperation, VR/AR and multi-modal information cues.
- Variable autonomy, shared control, and mixed-initiative systems.
- Communication with remote robots in extreme environments.
- Measurement and modelling of the effects of extreme environments (radiation, extreme temperatures, pressures, chemical and other issues) on sensors, embedded systems and other key robotics components, materials and design considerations.
- Design of robots and critical components for increased resilience in extreme environments.
This Special Issue particularly welcomes papers which describe practical applications, implementations and real deployments of robotic systems into extreme environments.
Prof. Rustam Stolkin
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- extreme environment
- nuclear robotics
- space robotics
- underwater robotics
- AI and learning
- Vision and perception
- Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)