IEEE Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts


Genoa, Italy


Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at Berkeley

The good, the bad and the ugly of automation: looking back at the advent of Electronic Design Automation and its implications today

Automation on one hand is touted as the pillar of Industry 4.0 and a fundamental enabler of autonomous vehicles. On the other, automation is considered a threat to employment. The truth may as always be in the middle. In the 1970s, the integrated circuit industry saw a rapid growth following the famous Moore's Law that predicted the doubling of number of transistors per square inch every year since their invention. However, the design complexity was growing at the same pace, if not more, and it was becoming a bottleneck. The only way to reduce the cost and time to bring new products to market was to develop algorithms and software systems to replace manual design at lower levels of abstraction. Electronic Design Automation since the late 1980s has become a fundamental enabler for the industry. Thousands of low level design jobs disappeared but the capabilities of engineers who conceived new architectures and devices were greatly enhanced. I will review this evolution and compare to today's rapid growth of robotics and AI.

Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli holds the Edgar L. and Harold H. Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been on the Faculty of the Department since 1976. He obtained an electrical engineering and computer science degree ("Dottore in Ingegneria") summa cum laude from the Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy in 1971. In 1980-1981, he spent a year as a Visiting Scientist at the Mathematical Sciences Department of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. In 1987, he was Visiting Professor at MIT. He has held a number of visiting professor positions at Italian Universities, including Politecnico di Torino, Universita’ di Roma, La Sapienza, Universita’ di Roma, Tor Vergata, Universita’ di Pavia, Universita’ di Pisa, Scuola di Sant’Anna. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Lester Center for Innovation of the Haas School of Business and of the Center for Western European Studies and is a member of the Berkeley Roundtable of the International Economy (BRIE). He is Honorary Professor at Politecnico di Torino. He is an author of over 850 papers, 18 books and 2 patents in the area of design tools and methodologies, large scale systems, embedded systems, hybrid systems and innovation.

Sabine Hauert

University of Bristol and RoboHub

Title: Dehyping robotics

Robots and AI have the potential to improve the way we work, live, and explore new frontiers. Hype and misinformation however are driving public perception, impacting policy, technology transfer, and our ability reach future users and diverse technologists. In this talk I'll dehype robotics and AI based on a decade talking with experts through, and my personal experience designing robot swarms. This grounding is necessary to have a thoughtful discussion about the public’s hopes and concerns, the limitations of the technology, and the real opportunities for the future.

Sabine Hauert is Assistant Professor in Robotics at the University of Bristol in the UK. Her research focusses in designing swarms that work in large numbers (>1000), and at small scales (<1 cm). Profoundly cross-disciplinary, Sabine works between Engineering Mathematics, the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, and Life Sciences. Before joining the University of Bristol, Sabine engineered swarms of nanoparticles for cancer treatment at MIT, and deployed swarms of flying robots at EPFL. Sabine is also President and Co-founder of, a non-profit dedicated to connecting the robotics community to the world. As an expert in science communication with 10 years of experience, Sabine is often invited to discuss the future of robotics and AI, including in the journals Science and Nature, at the European Parliament, and at the Royal Society. Her work has been featured in mainstream media including BBC, CNN, The Guardian, The Economist, TEDx, WIRED, and New Scientist.

Special Sessions Invited Speakers

Tony Belpaeme

Ghent University and Plymuth University UK

Title: TBA

Mirko Bordignon

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA

Title: Towards "manufacturing stacks": robotics meets IT for modular, scalable, cost-efficient production

In the 1980s, Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) pursued information-enabled production through connected machinery and the flexibility of software controls. In the 2010s, Industry 4.0 aims at information-driven manufacturing through pervasive networking and the insights provided by data analytics. The dynamics of the industrial technology landscape changed significantly in the meanwhile. Grassroots movements like Open-Source Software (OSS) communities increasingly influence how standards and platforms are started and, more importantly, how they gain momentum and acceptance. New market entrants coming from the IT domain shift the conversation from vertically integrated solutions to platforms and market ecosystems. For the promise of Industry 4.0 to be truly delivered, these trends must not only be taken into account, but also fully incorporated in the overall technical and business approach. This is applicable to all stakeholders in industrial robotics and automation, from hardware OEMs to end users passing through solution providers such as system integrators. The talk will highlight how this is happening *right now*, and which channels are available to approach this transformation.

Barbara Bottalico

European Center for law, Science and new Technologies, University of Pavia, Italy

Title: TBA

Laura Convertino

University College London, UK

Title: TBA

Rinie van Est

Rathenau Instituut, NL

Title: TBA

Oliver Goodenough (to be confirmed)

Vermont Law School, Vermont

Title: TBA

Latest News


Submissions are open! The official call text is available here.

Important dates


December 1st, 2017 - CFP

April 3rd, 2018 - paper submission

June 1stJune 8th, 2018 - author notification

July 1st, 2018 - camera ready

July 15th, 2018 - advanced registration


September 27th-28>th, 2018