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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.

Expression of Interest

We solicit teams interested in taking part to the 1st SciRoc challenge to provide their input on the design and format of the competition. A preliminary set of episodes has been identified by the SciRoc’s consortium, as listed below. In order to maximise attendance, we invite all interested teams to express their preferences on the episodes they would be willing to compete in, through submitting their EoI via the following online form.


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.

In order to maximise the team interests and attendance, the challenge is designed in four steps:

  1. Episode definition: a number of episodes relevant to the competition are designed 
  2. Episode advertisement: episodes are advertised as part of SciRoc’s dissemination activities, in order to gather episode preferences directly from the teams.
  3. Final selection: episodes that have raised more preferences will be selected as the official competition episodes.
  4. Rulebook publication: the rulebook of the competition will be subsequently released.   

Episodes list (to be refined and updated)

  1. (E01) Attract a customer
  2. (E02) Shopping guide
  3. (E03) Deliver coffee shop orders
  4. (E04) Take the elevator
  5. (E05) Unattended item
  6. (E06) Wipe a drink poured on the floor
  7. (E07) Serve goodies
  8. (E08) At the check-out desk
  9. (E09) Cart push
  10. (E10) Open the door
  11. (E11) Find a lost dog with a drone
  12. (E12) Fast delivery of emergency pills

Important dates

  • Expression of interest: Sep 01 – Oct 15, 2018
  • Rulebook publication: Dec 15, 2018
  • Qualification process: Dec 15, 2018 – Jan 31, 2019
  • Notification to teams: Feb 15, 2019
  • Registration: Mar 01 – Mar 31, 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:
















set up


set up
















Want to get the most out of #TIAGoRobot and show your robot programming skills? Give yourself the opportunity to have a TIAGo at your lab and participate in the #SciRoc2019 Robotics Challenge @PALRobotics @ERLrobotleague

💥 BREAKING NEWS! PAL Robotics is opening a #Call for the loan of 10 #TIAGoRobot to teams who want to participate in the 1st @ERLrobotleague #SciRoc2019 Challenge, a #roboticscompetition to make robots assist customers in a mall. Interested? 👉👉👉

#PALrobotics is sponsoring the 1st #ERL #Smartcities challenge. You have now the chance to apply for a #TIAGoRobot to participate in the #SciRoc2019 #challenge. Hurry up! @PALRoboticsb @RoboticsEU @SPARCrobotics #roboticscompetitions

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