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Saturday, February 12, 2011

American Robotics Network - Relaunched

Twelve years after the founding of the European Robotics Network, EURON and five years after the "Science and Technology Challenges for Roboticsworkshop 2006, where Prof. George Bekey, USC, proposed an American Robotics Network, AMERON , the idea of an American Robotics Network, AMRON, has been re-launched by former EURON founding Chairman (1999-2006) Henrik Christensen, now KUKA Chair of Robotics and a Professor of Computing with the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta since 2007. Christensen started EURON in 1999, when professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He has lead and participated in a large number of EU projects and also served as the research coordinator of ECVision (2000-2004).
In 2007 he left Europe and moved to Georgia Tech where he transfered his EURON knowledge into the CCC initiative on US Robotics. He coordinated the U.S. robotics elite in developing an US national roadmap for robotics, that was finally presented to Congress in May 2009.
Christensen has now re-launched the idea of an American Robotics Network (AMRON), aimed to coordinate research, technology transfer, educational efforts and robotics PR. If European outsider Christensen can convince the U.S. robotics community of the advantages with an AMRON remains to be seen.

The EURON community, founded in 2001 with funds from the 5th Framework Programme of  the European Commission, has about 225 member institutes all over Europe including associated countries such as Turkey, Israel or Russia. The goal of the network is to stimulate and promote research, education and technology transfer around robotics in Europe. It also serves as a central contact point to the European Commission, mainly to prepare roadmaps and facilitate the access of members to funding proposals in the area of robotics research.
EURON has been successfull in establishing robotics as a strategic technology platform on the European research agenda and promoting robotics projects valued more than 700 million Euro in funding.
The latest success of the EURON community is the CA-RoboCom pilot, aimed at the design of the FET Flagship Initiative on "Robot Companions for Citizens". It was evaluated positively and invited to negotiation. The selection process of the CAs that will be funded was very severe: 23 CA proposals were submitted and 6 were selected and invited to negotiation. The negotiation with the invited CA proposals will take place in Brussels on February 28. If the negotiation will be successful the CA-RoboCom will be funded, and will start  officially on May 1, 2011 (duration 1 year).
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CA: Coordination Action
FET: Future and Emerging Technologies 

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