ERF2016 SPARC Workshop on Cognitive Robotics

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SPARC.jpgThe Partnership for Robotics in Europe

European Robotics Forum 2016 Programme

Version 2 of the workshop report is now available; see below.

This page is being migrated to the euRobotics Topic Group on Artificial Intelligence and Cognition in Robotics (AICoR) wiki in anticipation of the follow-on phase of the work.

Session Title

SPARC Workshop on Cognitive Robotics: Actions for Promoting the Deployment of Cognitive Systems in Industry


David Vernon, University of Skövde, Sweden (david<at>

Markus Vincze, Technische Universität Wien, Austria (vincze<at>

Motivation and Objectives

SPARC - The Partnership for Robotics in Europe - brings together euRobotics aisbl and the European Commission. It is supported by a project that was launched in February 2016 which, along with its many other activities, has five goals to promote the deployment of cognitive systems in industry:

  1. Identify industrial priorities
  2. Create a catalogue of cognitive systems algorithms
  3. Create a SPARC cognitive architecture schema
  4. Develop a framework linking cognition and autonomy
  5. Develop software engineering guidelines for cognitive robotics

This workshop is the first opportunity for the robotics, cognitive systems, and AI communities to engage and become involved in the achievement of these goals. It will take the first crucial steps in formulating a meaningful strategy to make cognitive robotics a mainstream industrial technology.

Workshop Format

The workshop will be a facilitated brainstorming exercise. There will be five parallel breakout sessions, one for each goal. The attendees will choose which of the five breakout sessions they want to attend, during which they will provide three answers to a small number of focussed questions. A facilitator will then collect these answers and, together with the participants, sort them in to consistent groups. These collective answers will then be presented to the full meeting. After all the participants have had an opportunity to discuss the issues raised and give their own views, we will then identify the follow-up actions needed to move this process forward, effectively and efficiently.


14:00 – 14:20 Introduction to objectives & methodology

14:20 – 14:30 Identification of breakout groups

14:30 – 15:30 Five parallel breakout group brainstorming sessions

15:30 – 16:15 Coffee break

16:15 – 17:05 Five 10-minute feedback presentations

17:05 – 17:35 Moderated open discussion

17:35 – 17:45 Identification of short-term goals and follow-up actions

Preparing for the Workshop

All attendees at ERF2016 are warmly invited to participate in the workshop. It promises to be an enjoyable and interesting exercise. We will give an overview of the brainstorming technique to be used at the start of the session, but it would be very helpful if prospective participants familiarized themselves with the following material.

SPARC Cognitive Systems Coordination

A past coordination and support action (CSA) led to the creation of euRobotics aisbl, the private partner of the SPARC PPP. Now, a follow-up CSA has a full work package dedicated to cognitive systems coordination, with five tasks targetting the goals listed above (see here for more details).

Prospective participants are encouraged to read through these task descriptions as they explain exactly what we are setting out to achieve in this workshop.

Briefing Notes for the Breakout Session

The following documents explain how the breakout session will work in practice. The breakout session exercises are provisional for the moment and the questions may change.

General Instructions

Breakout Session Exercises

At the Workshop

After the Workshop

Thanks to all the people who participated, giving freely of their time and insights. A special thanks to the facilitators: Tamim Asfour, Alessandro Saffiotti, Alexander Wendt, and Gerhard Kraetzschmar.

We have set up an email list for people interested in this workshop: cognitiverobotics<at> Please send an email to david<at> if you would like to be added to this list, briefly stating your interests and why you would want to be added, ideally saying what kind of contribution you'd like to make.

Version 2 of the workshop report is now available here.

Please note that the report documents the actual proceedings on the day. It does not attempt to provide a commentary of the findings. As such, this report should be viewed as a starting point in our efforts to achieve the five SPARC ROCKeu2 goals outlined at the workshop and in the report. This material will be developed over the coming months.

We depend on you, the workshop participants, and the AI and Cognitive Systems (AICoR) community to contribute actively to this effort.