For 2020 we have highlighted six technology themes for which we are particular keen to attract contributions, and these can be submitted at any time.
AI for Autonomous Unmanned Systems
This Special Issue will be Guest Edited by Hongbo Gao, Xiaoxiang Na and Christopher de Saxe.
In recent decades, autonomous unmanned systems have received increasingly significant attention due to their potential to enhance unmanned system intelligence, unmanned system performance, and unmanned system efficiency. One of the key objectives of autonomous unmanned systems is to realize a high degree of autonomy under dynamic, complex environments. From multi-disciplinary perspectives including robotics, computer vision, artificial intelligence, control theory, etc., significant research efforts have been devoted to improving the performance of autonomous perception, situation awareness, decision-making and control abilities for autonomous unmanned systems. However, due to the uncertainties and complexities of real-world environments, objects and obstacles are dynamic, making it a necessity for autonomous unmanned systems to further improve abilities such as online learning, unmanned systems skill learning from past experiences, situation awareness, trajectory planning, decision-making and motion control.
Cooperative robots work alongside people. For them to be able to do this safely the robots need to be able to sense the presence and close proximity of people so that collisions can be avoided. This technology relies on the development of force feedback, machine vision and haptic sensing.
Robots for environmental monitoring
The importance of environmental monitoring has never been more evident. Whether this be long-term slowly changing effects such as global warming, or the resultant dramatic weather conditions such as floods and hurricanes, or the monitoring of pollution levels - we need to be ever vigilant for events that can occur anywhere on Earth. Robots can be our eyes in the sky, and on land and sea.
These are designed to help people recover from stroke, spinal-cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other neurological impairments. They give the patient a rich force-feedback experience; aiding the patient (e.g. zero-gravity mode and gentle nudges) where needed and challenging the patient with specially formulated games that leverage the brain's plasticity to rewire itself.
In addition to neurological rehabilitation this theme also includes aids for assisting the recovery from physical injuries.
The scale of modern farms and the strenuous activities of harvesting and pruning make some aspects of farming unsuitable for human labour. Agricultural robots are becoming more and more important as labour shortages mean that many crops are simply left in the fields to rot. This topic includes the selective application of weed killers and fertilisers as well as the mechanical and sensing technologies required for harvesting, pruning and crop inspection.
Wearable Robotics / Exoskeletons
The development of ‘Wearable Robotics’ addresses one of the main challenges of an aging society: a loss of mobility and physical ability in general. The adoption of novel active wearable robotic devices, either for worker support, daily assistance or clinical rehabilitation, requires new approaches to ultimately enable efficient treatments and better facilitation of movement for individuals who perform physical labor or face a loss of their motor abilities. This thematic area is primarily addressed at researchers and practitioners interested in Wearable Robotics for Assistive, Rehabilitation and Worker-support applications and in new perspectives in this field. It will provide a unique opportunity for academics and professionals from industry to contribute to the latest advances in these fields of wearable robotics.
Manuscripts should be submitted online via Manuscript Central.
Please get in touch with any questions:
Dr. Clive Loughlin – Editor, Industrial Robot