Robotics & Automation Technologies for Humanitarian Applications: Where we are & Where we can be (Workshop @ ICRA 2015)
Robotics & Automation (R&A) technologies have the potential to transform and positively impact the lives of several people around the globe by addressing some of the worldís toughest and unsolved challenges and elevating the quality of life for humanity. Many of the underlying theoretical frameworks of existing R&A technologies are at a sufficient level of maturity and are widely accepted by the academic community after having undergone the scientific rigor and peer reviews that accompany such works. Yet, several of these frameworks, when subjected to the demands of deployment in practical situations, reveal their brittleness and lack of robustness (e.g. Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster). A fundamental reason behind such failures is that there exists a chasm between technological innovators and humanitarian field workers: Innovators rarely know what technological tools humanitarian workers in-the-trenches need; and only humanitarian field workers know what innovations are truly sustainable.