IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

Robot Challenges

This year’s Robot Challenges will include:

Each challenge is organized individually, but will be co-located at the conference. All challenge participants are required to register for the conference. For additional information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Registration and Travel Funding

Challenge participants should register for the ICRA conference either as exhibitors or full attendees, depending on whether they plan to attend the technical sessions and social events of the conference.

Limited travel funding assistance is provided thanks to support from the Robotics and Automation Society.  Teams interested in applying for travel grants should submit their information by February 15th.  We will attempt to provide travel assistance to as many teams as possible.  Travel funding announcements will be made by March 1st. (Amazon Picking Challenge participants should contact the APC challenge organizers regarding travel grants.)


Challenges will host awards to recognize the top performing teams.

Amazon Picking Challenge

Amazon is able to quickly package and ship millions of items to customers from a network of fulfillment centers all over the globe. This wouldn't be possible without leveraging cutting-edge advances in technology. Amazon's automated warehouses are successful at removing much of the walking and searching for items within a warehouse. However, commercially viable automated picking in unstructured environments still remains a difficult challenge. In order to spur the advancement of this fundamental technology we are excited to be organizing the first Amazon Picking Challenge at ICRA 2015. It is our goal to strengthen the ties between the industrial and academic robotic communities and promote shared and open solutions to some of the big problems in unstructured automation. To this end the contest will be awarding travel grants to ICRA 2015, practice equipment, and a large prize pool for the competition winners.

This competition will challenge entrants to build their own robot hardware and software that can attempt simplified versions of the general task of picking items from shelves. The robots will be presented with a stationary lightly populated inventory shelf and be asked to pick a subset of the products and put them on a table. The challenge combines object recognition, pose recognition, grasp planning, compliant manipulation, motion planning, task planning, task execution, and error detection and recovery. The robots will be scored by how many items are picked in a fixed amount of time, with $26,000 in prizes being awarded. Participants will be encouraged to share and disseminate their approach to improve future challenge results and industrial implementations.

The First Challenge on Formal Methods for Robotics

We present the first challenge on formal methods for robotics. “Formal methods” refers broadly to techniques for the verification and automatic synthesis of transition systems that satisfy desirable properties exactly or within some statistical tolerance. Though historically developed for concurrent software, recent work has brought these methods to bear on motion planning in robotics. Challenges specific to robotics, such as uncertainty and real-time constraints, have motivated extensions to existing methods and entirely novel treatments. However, compared to other areas within robotics research, demonstrations of formal methods have been surprisingly small-scale. The proposed robotics challenge seeks to motivate advancement of the state of the art toward practical realization. The challenge is organized into three problem domains: arbitrary dimensional double integrators, roads with Dubins cars, and manipulation tasks on the assembly line.

Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC)

According to the UN Mine Action Service, landmines kill 15,000-20,000 people every year (mostly children) and maim countless more across 78 countries. Demining efforts cost US$ 300-1000 per mine, and, for every 5000 mines cleared, one person is killed and two are injured. Thus, clearing post-combat regions of landmines has proven to be a difficult, risky, dangerous and expensive task with enormous social implications for civilians. Motivated by these considerations, the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society – Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS–SIGHT) is inviting the academic and non-academic community to participate in the second Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technology Challenge (HRATC) at the 2015 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA’15).

The 2015 edition of HRATC will focus on promoting the development of new strategies for autonomous landmine detection using a mobile (ground) robot. The strategies developed by the participating teams will be objectively and quantitatively evaluated according to the following criteria: exploration time and environmental coverage; detection and classification quality, i.e., when a metallic object is detected, it should be classified correctly as a landmine or non-landmine; landmine avoidance, i.e., while navigating, the robot should not go over landmines. The Challenge will take place in three phases: 1) Simulation Phase, 2) Testing Phase, and 3) Challenge Phase. Teams will be progressively eliminated after each phase and the remaining teams would move on to the next phase culminating in the Challenge (Finals) phase at ICRA’15. It should be noted that the teams do not need to purchase or build a robot instrumented with sensors or any of the accompanying software. Every team can participate remotely in each of the phases.

Description papers (2-3 pages) are due November 15, 2014 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  See the HRATC challenge website for more information on how to participate.

Humanoids Application Challenge

DARwin-OP is an open platform humanoid project supported by NSF. Being a vision-capable humanoid with full functionality and scalability, researchers are strongly required to join an open source community for cooperative research. The challenge aims to encourage creative applications from around the globe and maximize contribution for humanoid research. Teams consisting of 1-4 members who use the DARwIn-OP robot to develop their own application are eligible.

IEEE RAS Micro/Nano Robotics & Automation (MNRA) Technical Committee Mobile Microrobotics Challenge

The IEEE Robotics & Automations Society (RAS) Micro/Nano Robotics & Automation Technical Committee (MNRA) invites applications to participate in the 2015 Mobile Microrobotics Challenge, in which microrobots on the order of the diameter of a human hair face off in tests of autonomy, accuracy, and assembly. Teams can participate in up to three events:

  1. Autonomous Mobility & Accuracy Challenge: Microrobots must track a predefined micro-scale trajectory (rectangle, circle, triangle, etc.) multiple times. The team with the most accurate traversal of the all the trajectories is the winner.
  2. Microassembly Challenge: Microrobots must assemble multiple microscale components inside a narrow channel in a fixed amount of time. This task simulates anticipated applications of microassembly, including manipulation within a human blood vessel and the assembly of components in nanomanufacturing.
  3. MMC Showcase & Poster Session: Each team has an opportunity to showcase and demonstrate any advanced capabilities and/or functionality of their microrobot system. Each participating team will get one vote to determine the Best in Show winner.