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1st SciRoc Challenge

The first ERL Smart CIty RObotic Challenge (the SciRoc challenge) will be held in Milton Keynes (UK) from September 16th to September 22nd, 2019.

The challenge in focus on smart shopping and will be divided into a series of episodes, each consisting in a task to be performed through addressing specific research challenges. During each episode, robots will have to cooperate continuously with the digital infrastructure of the smart shopping mall (the centre:MK) in order to accomplish their tasks. Teams are expected to participate in one or more episodes according to their research interests.


The challenge will be set in the:centre, Milton Keynes’ smart shopping mall where intelligent agents carry tasks varying from customer assistance to mall management. The smartness of the mall is given by the networked devices, providing static and dynamic information from a number of heterogeneous data sources, e.g. location of shops, current availability of goods and items, audio and visual inputs from CCTV cameras, crowd density sensor information, and many others.

Episodes and Categories

The challenge will be divided into several episodesAn episode places a functionality tested during a specific Functional Benchmarks (FBM) into an operational context. This means that, during an episode, the tested functionality requires the integration with other system components, but limits the efforts for their development (using, for instance, off-the-shelf solutions). Although the goal is to target specifically one functionality (or exceptionally, two), an effort for integrating the main functionality and the other ones might be required in order to complete the episode.

Episodes are organised into categories depending on the task to achieve and the type of robots involved. We refer to three categories:

  • HRI&Mobility: episodes involving robots able to show social behaviours, such as verbally interacting with (human) customers or navigating respecting proxemics, in line with the current ERL-Consumer. These are meant for any robot (wheeled, or legged) with navigational and verbal communication.
  • Manipulation: episodes requiring robots to achieve manipulation tasks, applying ERL-Professional services to the smart city context. Episodes here are meant for any robot able to navigate and equipped with arms and effectors for the manipulation of objects.
  • Emergency: tasks and challenges addressed by small VTOL aerial robots, along the lines of the ERL-Emergency. Any VTOL aerial platform able to carry and deliver items in specific locations, navigate in outdoor and indoor spaces, detect and avoid obstacles can take part to episodes of this category.

The SciRoc’s consortium originally selected a set of episodes, now, thanks to the contribution of the teams, we have the final list of the five episodes that will be part of the competition. We solicit teams interested in taking part to the 1st SciRoc challenge to provide their input on the design and format of the competition by providing comments on the current drafts of the rulebooks of each episode.

Final episodes

These episodes will be part of the SciRoc challenge.

(E03) Deliver coffee shop orders

(E04) Take the elevator

(E07) Shopping pick and pack

(E10) Open the door

(E12) Fast delivery of emergency pills

Unselected episodes

These episodes were part of the original set defined by the SciRoc’s consortium. While they will not be part of the SciRoc challenge in Milton Keynes, they may be part of future smart city challenges.

(E01) Attract a customer

(E02) Shopping guide

(E05) Unattended item

(E06) Wipe a drink poured on the floor

(E08) At the check-out desk

(E09) Cart push

(E11) Find a lost dog with a drone

Important dates

  • Expression of interest: Sep 01 – Oct 15, 2018
  • Rulebook publication: Dec 15, 2018
  • Registration: Mar 01 – May 30, 2019

Note that a dedicated booth will be present at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS2018) between Oct 1st and Oct 5th 2018, in order to attract team interests and episode preferences.

A *tentative* schedule of the event is as follows:
















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