2nd Workshop on Robots in Clutter:
Preparing robots for the real world

Berlin, Germany; June 27, 2013

While recent advances in robotics tackle increasingly impressive problems, roboticists so far tend to shy away from specifically addressing many of the problems related to clutter. Vision for example faces the problem of segmenting task-relevant objects amidst clutter and occlusions. Unexpected changes of the dynamic scene pose challenges for maintaining valid and tractable scene representations for navigation. Domain knowledge in a cluttered environment must necessarily be incomplete, and action planning must be able to accommodate new, often uncertain information on the fly. Manipulation cannot expect precise pose knowledge of all objects in a pile, let alone all contact relations. Human robot interaction in crowded scenes needs to keep track of various strands of dialogue and deal with intermittent and sporadic user involvement. Finally, what is meant by "robust to clutter" is difficult to define and adequate benchmarks are still missing.

All these problems, however, will become increasingly manifest as robots move into unstructured domestic, industrial or outdoor settings. Following in the footsteps of the first Workshop on Robots in Clutter held at RSS 2012, this workshop brings together researchers from different robotics domains to discuss experience with and ideas for handling various problems induced by clutter, and to advance theoretically founded and system-wide approaches of handling clutter, but as a requirement when designing algorithms and systems.

To establish problems and methods related to clutter as a distinct and recognisable topic within the community we will pursue the publication of selected workshop contributions as a special journal issue. We will furthermore use the outcome of the discussions at the workshop to formulate a white paper on the topic and to establish a working group on robots in clutter.