Tag Archives: Robotics

2013 Robotics road map in U.S


Henrik Christensen, the KUKA Chair of Robotics at GA Tech and Chairman of the Roadmap project, Rodney Brooks, CEO of Rethink Robotics, Pete Wurman, CTO of Kiva Systems, and Russ Angold, CTO of Ekso Bionics all presented the new Roadmap to a packed gallery of the Robotics Caucus of the US Congress.

From left: Pete Wurman, Rodney Brooks, Russ Angold and Henrik Christensen
The Roadmap pdf is a must read and can be downloaded here.
The Roadmap and presentation covered six areas of robotics:
  1. Manufacturing – manufacturing represents 14% of the GDP and 11% of total employment. Close to 70% of net exports from the US are related to manufacturing. Thus manufacturing and robots are a very important area to the general economic health of the country.
  2. Medical Robots – with 40+% annual growth over the last few years in the number of medical procedures performed using robots, it is essential to continue to develop and deploy robot systems and to reduce the overall cost of care.
  3. Healthcare – finding cost-effective robotic solutions for rehabilitation and necessary household and personal tasks for the more than 11 million Americans living with severe disabilities.
  4. Service – annual growth in professional service robots (which includes inspection of power plants and infrastructure such as bridges and transmission lines) is 30%, and in domestic service applications (such as vacuums, lawnmowers and toys), the growth rate is 20%. US companies have dominated this area and it is considered economically important to maintain the momentum.
  5. Space – tremendous progress in science exploration of Mars and at the space station through the use of robotics has offered important insights into how the same systems can be used in daily lives. Partnerships such as with NASA’s Robonaut team and GM, and enhanced teleoperation and remote presence consulting are examples.
  6. Defense – more than 25,000 robotic systems were deployed in ground and aerial systems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dual use opportunities are tremendous as the FAA opens civilian airspace to these types of robotic devices. In a decade, airfreight may be transported coast-to-coast or transoceanic by remotely piloted aircrafts. This is another area where US companies have dominated and it is considered important to maintain the momentum.

While some critical capabilities and underlying technologies are domain-specific, a number are common across all six areas of robotics and include robust 3-D perception, planning and navigation, human-like dexterous manipulation, intuitive human-robot interaction, and safe robot behavior. These challenges are where the Roadmap suggests that the government stimulate development by investing in the core sciences from which the solutions will emerge.

Henrik also said about the presentation:

Robotics is one of a few technologies capable of building new companies, creating new jobs and addressing a number of issues of national importance. We hope this report will help foster the discussion on how we can build partnerships and allocate resources to move the robotics industry forward.

We had multiple members from NSF at the briefing. In DC, the program managers that work in areas related to robotics now meet regularly to discuss programs, potential future opportunities… so we are seeing a growing interest and a stronger representation in Congress and the DC community.

Good work Henrik and Bravo! for getting on so well in the Halls of Congress.

Robotics journal impact factor.


I am maintaining a graph of the ups’ and downs of ISI impact factors on journals that are relevant for Machine Learning and for Robotics. If you think a major journal is missing, then please drop me a line.



Please note that the Journal of Robotic Systems has been discontinued, it has become more specialized and lives on in the journal of field robotic systems.




Outdated version

I have started monitoring the Robotics and Machine Learning journals. Based on this list of ISI impact factors for 2006 and based on ISIKNOWLEDGE.COM for 2007, I have created a list of the most current impact factors. As impact factors for 2008 are measured on 2008 publications, the impact factors for 2008 will not be available until mid-2009. My best tools right now are ISI-KNOWLEDGE and SCImago Rank. NL mean “Not Listed”.


Robotics Journals ISI Impact
Factor 2006
ISI Impact
Factor 2007
ISI Half-
Life 2007
SJR 2007
IEEE Transactions on Robotics 1.763 1.976 9.5 15 0.067
International Journal of Robotics Research 1.591 1.318 8.5 42 0.084
Autonomous Robots 1.578 1.413 5.9 36 0.091
International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted 0.917 0.700 NL 6 0,064
Robotics & Autonomous Systems 0.832 0.633 6.1 33 0,094
Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing 0.810 0.804 6.0 24 0,056
IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 0.652 0.892 5.9 22 0,081
Robotica 0.483 0.410 6.7 21 0,050
International Journal of Robotics & Automation 0.404 0.203 NL 8 0,043
Advanced Robotics 0.318 0.504 5.0 17 0,051
Industrial Robot 0.278 NL NL NL NL
Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems 0.265 0.459 6.0 NL NL
Journal of Robotic Systems 0.402 0.483 9.4 NL NL
Note that the IEEE Transactions on Robotics was originally much lower (only 0.813 in 2007). The editor-in-chief Alessandro De Luca achieved a recount which lifted the journal from #5 in Robotics to #1. Subsequently, Thomson Reuters, the official publisher of JCR and ISI Web of Knowledge/Science, corrected their results based on their own data. Upon request, I can provide the printouts of the ISI rankings, but the results can also be obtained from Thomson Reuters upon subscription. I cannot make these printouts publicly available due to legal reasons.

Also note that the SCImago needs to be interpreted with a grain of salt as it is not based on the updated JCR results.

Here are the updated factors. In 2008, book chapters and conference proceedings were included into the citations. Hence, do not take 2008 too seriously.

Similarly, I have looked at Machine Learning journals including modern journals as well as old-fashioned ones.
Machine Learning Journals Impact
Factor 2006
Factor 2007
SJR 2007
MACHINE LEARNING 2.654 1.742 >10.0 54 0,128
NEURAL COMPUTATION 2.229 2.335 8.4 67 0,257
NEURAL NETWORKS 2.000 1.951 8.5 54 0,249
PATTERN RECOGNITION 1.822 2.019 7.5 57 0,078
PATTERN RECOGNITION LETTERS 0.952 0.853 6.0 39 0,065
NEUROCOMPUTING 0.860 0.865 4.8 32 0,076
NEURAL PROCESSING LETTERS 0.753 0.580 7.0 16 0,059
NEURAL COMPUTING & APPLICATIONS 0.610 0.627 5.5 13 0,062
Apologies for the upper cases but cut & paste is soo much easier… While any quantitative measure on scientific quality is at best dubious, the recent ranking on robotics journal rankings seems to confirm the listing above.

Here are the updated factors. In 2008, book chapters and conference proceedings were included into the citations. Hence, do not take 2008 too seriously.


Grand Challenges of Science: Robotics

In January, DISCOVER and the National Science Foundation continued their Grand Challenges event series with a panel discussion at Carnegie Mellon University exploring the dynamic world of robotics.

The panel included four eminent roboticists—Javier Movellan from University of California San Diego, Rodney Brooks from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, William “Red” Whittaker from Carnegie Mellon University, and Robyn Murphy from Texas A&M University—who discussed some the big questions on the future of their field: How will robots transform industry, health care, and warfare? Will they ever be our equals? The conversation was moderated by DISCOVER editor-in-chief Corey Powell.