Taking Mobile Manipulators into the Real World

July 14, 2023 (1y ago)

Project Website

Workshop at Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) 2023

Organisers: Jesse Haviland Ben Burgess-Limerick Peter Corke Tirtha Bandy Rika Antonova


This workshop seeks to progress research in the topic of real-world manipulation and mobile manipulation, that is manipulators operating in environments which may be outdoors, naturally occurring, and unstructured. These real-world environments have unique characteristics making them non-trivial and difficult for robot operation compared to typical laboratory environments. Challenges include travelling over uneven and unpredictable terrain, working with deformable and non-rigid structures such as trees and other natural phenomena, and operating with high uncertainty due to environmental conditions.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from diverse sub-communities within robotics including manipulation, mobile manipulation, field robotics, legged robotics, robot learning, SLAM, and robotic vision to discuss the following topics:

  • Is a benchmark or dataset required for progress in this area?
  • If so, should this be a real-world test environment, a high fidelity simulation, or low fidelity simulations with high domain randomisation etc.?
  • What gaps are holding outdoor and real-world mobile manipulation progress back from the rest of the manipulation field?
  • Is progress in this area going to be best achieved with data driven, analytic solutions, or a combined approach?
  • Why are manipulators slow and unsatisfying at completing tasks?
  • Mobile manipulators typically move in an unintuitive and unnatural manner, is this an issue for real-world environments?
  • What kind of sensing and contact models would be useful for environmental representation and mobile manipulation?
  • How do you handle uncertainty in real-world environments?
  • Are there specific challenges for long-term autonomy in the context of field robotics?
  • What is the role of human input in field mobile manipulation?