Workshops will be held on the 22nd of August

Workshop #01: Distributed Cooperative Robotics: Numerical Methods and ROS 2 Software Tools

Full day workshop – Organisers: Andrea Testa*, Andrea Camisa, Giuseppe Notarstefano

In the last years, several applications in cooperative robotics, such as task allocation, model predictive control, formation control, have gained more and more attention. On the one hand, the research community has developed a set of theoretical tools to solve these problems without a coordinating unit. In this setups, robots in the network, relying on their limited knowledge of the problem data, have to exploit local computation and communication capabilities to solve the complex task, which often requires also the solution of optimization problems. On the other hand, researchers and developers have developed several software toolboxes to implement control schemes on both simulated and real robots. The Robot Operating System (ROS), has gained popularity among robotics researchers as an open source framework for the development of robotics applications. In this workshop, we introduce a novel ROS 2 toolbox for cooperative robotics named ChoiRbot. This toolbox, written in Python, provides a comprehensive set of functionalities to easily prototype and code multi-robot simulations and experiments. The main focus of ChoiRbot is on peer-to-peer networks of robots, where each robot has its own processor and is able to communicate with the neighboring units according to a user-defined graph, possibly time-varying or with unreliable communication links. This workshop aims to provide an introductory foundation on distributed multi-robot networks, communication, optimization and control problems arising in this setting and state-of-art software tools to model and solve them. Exemplary applications include formation control for mobile wheeled robots and distributed task-assignment scenarios. The workshop will show how to use ChoiRbot to easily deploy simulations and experiments of multi-robot networks, with a particular focus on distributed optimization and control functionalities.

 Workshop #02: Control Systems and Robotics in the framework of Agriculture 4.0

Full day workshop – Organisers: Martina Mammarella*, Lorenzo Comba, Takeshi Hatanaka, Dario Mengoli

Agriculture 4.0 comprises a set of technologies that combines sensors, information systems, enhanced machinery, and informed management with the objective of optimizing production by accounting for variabilities and uncertainties within agricultural systems. The concept of Agriculture 4.0 consists in the harmonious and interconnected use in agriculture of two different digital technologies: (i) precision agriculture for carrying out targeted agronomic interventions, which take into account both farming requirements and the physical and biochemical features of the land; and (ii) smart farming, i.e. the digital connection between field activities and all other related processes. In this framework, control systems are playing a relevant role towards the automation of agricultural operations and processes, such as ones performed by smart implements on unmanned ground and aerial vehicles. Aim of the proposed workshop is to present state-of-the-art development and applications of technological advances and applications of control engineering for addressing crucial problems into the framework of Agriculture 4.0, including agronomy, horticulture, and forestry. During the workshop, the attendee will be driven through several thrilling and promising applications, each one exploiting a direct application of advanced identification and control techniques to agricultural robots and applications, ad-hoc tailored for complying with applied domain needs and available computation capabilities.

´╗┐Workshop #03: State of the art of Automatic Control of General Anesthesia 

Full day workshop – Organisers: Andrzej Pawlowski, Antonio Visioli*

Closed-loop control of general anesthesia has raised an increased research interest in the past decades with a significant expansion during the last years because these systems have the potential to bring important benefits in clinical practice. In particular, they can improve the patient safety and the reproducibility of therapy outcomes by avoiding human errors due to distraction and fatigue. In fact, they allow the anesthesiologist to assume the role of supervisor. This implies that, while the automatic control system performs the task of dosing the anesthetic drugs, the anesthesiologist can focus on complex clinical decisions and maneuvers that require medical expertise. The anesthesia process requires administration of different drugs to achieve three main effects related to hypnosis, analgesia and muscular relaxation. There are many issues that should be taken into account when designing the control system: the nonlinearities of the system, the coupling effects between the different drugs, the robustness to inter- and intra-patient variability, the presence of safety constraints, the presence of noise, the estimation of the pharmacokinetic/pharmakodynamic (PK/PD) model, the availability of a reliable simulator for testing the control algorithm, and so on. Because of these challenges to be faced, many different design tools and methodologies have been proposed and exploited in this context. The scope of the workshop is to provide the state-of-the-art of closed-loop control of general anesthesia by presenting some of the most recent methodologies that have been proposed.