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Mind the Gap: Opportunities and Challenges in the Transition Between Research and Industry

Real-world deployability has always been a foundational focus of robotics research. However, over the past 15 years, these ideas have been tested at an unprecedented scale as start-ups and new efforts in established companies have productionized robotics to offer new consumer products, expand business services, and fulfill government contracts. This workshop aims to “back-propagate” the learnings from these efforts to academic researchers across applications, algorithms, hardware, and systems who want to contextualize their work in industry trends.

We will feature talks by industry veterans across a variety of robotics subfields. Based on their experiences “in the trenches” of productionizing robotics research, workshop speakers will concretize, refine, and even refute the notion that industry is meaningfully different from academia through studies, retrospectives, and anecdotes. In particular we envision discussion about, but not limited to:

  • Retrospectives on Deployments and Running Algorithms at Scale
  • Integration of Algorithms and Hardware
  • Surprising Real-World Constraints, Pitfalls, and Corner Cases (and ways to avoid them)
  • How Users Impact Design Decisions
  • The Biggest Challenges Facing Industry over the Next Decade
  • Quantitative studies, profiling, and results are especially welcome!

We also hope that this workshop will promote additional discussion around the following questions:

  • What are the best ways for industry and academia to work together?
  • What robotics problems are best suited for exploration by industry vs. academia? What are overlapping problems that should be tackled collaboratively?
  • What are the main gaps in academic research results that need to be “filled in” in order to use them in industry? How can researchers work to reduce those gaps?

In addition, we are soliciting lightning talks targeting work involving robot hardware, and especially encourage the presentation of “positive” and “negative” results (opportunities and challenges) that otherwise might have trouble finding a suitable venue. We hope this will be an opportunity to not just connect researchers working on hardware with each other, but also give them access to feedback from both academic and industry professionals. We are particularly interested in works that discuss:

  • Critical software and hardware debugging experiences and insightful failed algorithmic and system level research attempts that are typically not “publishable”,
  • Aggregated “best practice” suggestions for getting up to speed on new robot hardware and for developing hardware and software infrastructures that enable rapid prototyping and easy deployments,
  • Surprising discoveries gleaned from deploying algorithms onto physical robots,
  • Work from early career students and professionals

To view our call for lightning talks or submit an abstract, click here!

For researchers, this workshop will help lift the curtain on the realities of academic to industry tech transfer. For industry experts, this workshop provides an opportunity to influence the direction of academic research. For both, we hope to provide an venue for integrated dialogue and identification of new potential collaborations

Speakers

Vivian Chu
Vivian Chu
Co-Founder and CEO
Diligent Robotics
Personal Website
Kristen Holtz
Kristen Holtz
Head of Tracking & Cinematics
Skydio
Personal Website
Zack Jackowski
Zack Jackowski
Chief Engineer - Spot
Boston Dynamics
Personal Website
Shaoshan Liu
Shaoshan Liu
Founder and Chairman
PerceptIn
Personal Website
Vuyo Makhuvha
Vuyo Makhuvha
Head of Strategy and Growth
August Robotics
Personal Website
Sadra Sadraddini
Sadra Sadraddini
Principal Robotics Engineer
Dexai Robotics
Personal Website

Schedule, Location, and Time

We will be meeting in the SINDEBAND EAST 414 Room in the CEPSR Building (530 West 120th Street betwen Boradway and Amsterdam).

You can also join virtually on Zoom!

Time Topic
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Agenda by the Organizers
9:15-9:55 Talk A with Q&A
9:55-10:35 Talk B with Q&A
10:35-10:50 Break
10:50-11:30 Talk C with Q&A
11:30-12:00 Lighting Talks on Accepted Abstracts
12:00-12:30 Lighting Talk Q&A Breakouts
12:30-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-2:40 Talk D with Q&A
2:40-3:20 Talk E with Q&A
3:20-3:35 Break
3:35-4:05 Talk F with Q&A
4:05-4:45 Talk G with Q&A
4:45-5:00 Workshop Closing by the Organizers

Registration

Please visit the main RSS 2022 website for information on registering for conference workshops.

Organizers

Brian Plancher
Brian Plancher
Incoming Assistant Professor
Barnard College
Associate
Harvard University
Personal Website
Sarah Tang
Sarah Tang
Staff Software Engineer, Planning
Waymo
Personal Website
Sabrina M. Neuman
Sabrina M. Neuman
Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard University
Personal Website
Vijay Janapa Reddi
Vijay Janapa Reddi
Associate Professor
Harvard University
Personal Website

Program Committee

Sherry Chen
Chef Robotics, Inc
Personal Website
Radhika Ghosal
Harvard University
Personal Website
Lev Grossman
Berkshire Grey
Personal Website
Jason Jabbour
University of Virginia / Harvard University
Personal Website
Nigamaa Nayakanti
Waymo
Personal Website
Krithika Swaminathan
Harvard University
Personal Website

Contact

Email bplancher@barnard.edu with any questions regarding this workshop.