Workshop at Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) 2021

Robotics for People (R4P): Perspectives on Interaction, Learning and Safety
Thursday, July 15th, 2021 (Virtual)


Robots are increasingly being designed, built, and programmed for tasks that require operating in proximity to, or even in tandem with, humans and other agents. These task settings are often safety-critical with a high degree of uncertainty about the current and future states of the robot’s environment. Accounting for uncertainty and safety-critical interactions are key challenges to seamlessly integrating robots into such human spaces.

While the human-robot interaction (HRI), machine learning (ML), and motion planning (MP) communities have developed a proliferation of techniques to address these challenges, the research within these communities is often conducted independently. This risks the development of technical approaches in abstract isolation, rendering them ultimately not deployable.

By bridging the HRI, ML, and MP communities, this workshop aims to create a road map for developing safer and smarter robots.

Goals and Themes

The goal of this workshop is to bring together experts from the HRI, ML, and MP communities to explore the techniques and methods for safety that can enable robots to work with and around people.

In particular, we will:

  1. Explore algorithmic challenges of machine learning applied to human-robot interaction tasks,

  2. Integrate and refine definitions of and methods for robot safety in uncertain, dynamic, human-interactive environments, and

  3. Rethink notions of trust and social intelligence from human-robot interaction in the context of safety and robustness, using the language of motion planning and/or machine learning.


This full day workshop will include opportunities for open discussions among participants. Our goal is to encourage live online exchanges. Our final schedule will include:

    1. Keynote talks that discuss both the underlying theory and the practical tools required to realize interaction, learning, and safety.

    2. An engaging debate with invited panelists.

    3. Interactive poster sessions and breakout sessions with the goal of maximizing exposure for the contributed papers.

Important Dates

Paper submission deadline: June 20th 25th 2021 (Anywhere on Earth, 11:59 PM UTC-12)

Notification of acceptance: July 9th 2021 (Anywhere on Earth, 11:59 PM UTC-12)

Camera-ready version: July 14th 2021 (Anywhere on Earth, 11:59 PM UTC-12)

Workshop: July 15th 2021 (Check the schedule)


We have merged the following three workshops to have a broader and diverse workshop:

  • 3rd RSS Workshop on Robust autonomy: Safe Robot Learning and Control in Uncertain Real-World Environments

  • Towards Intelligent Social Robots (ISoR): Trustworthy Human-Centered AI under Uncertainty

  • Machine Learning in Human-Robot Collaboration: Bridging the Gap

General Chairs:

  • Matthew Gombolay (Georgia Institute of Technology)

  • Shreyas Kousik (Stanford University)

Program Chairs:

  • Tesca Fitzgerald (Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Amir Aly (University of Plymouth)

Invited Speaker Chairs:

  • Kim Baraka (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Filipa Correia (University of Lisbon)

Social Chairs:

  • Andrea Bajcsy (University of California Berkeley)

  • SiQi Zhou (University of Toronto)

  • David Fridovich-Keil (Stanford University)

  • Angela P. Schoellig (University of Toronto)

Web and Publishing Chairs:

  • Nakul Gopalan (Georgia Institute of Technology)

  • Ransalu Senanayake (Stanford University)

Program Committee:

  • Somil Bansal (University of California Berkeley)

  • Aude Billard (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

  • Angelo Cangelosi (University of Manchester)

  • Jaime Fernández-Fisac (Princeton University)

  • Chelsea Finn (Stanford University)

  • Melissa Greeff (University of Toronto)

  • Sylvia Herbert (University of California San Diego)

  • Stefanos Nikolaidis (University of Southern California)

  • Verena Nitsch (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Srikanth Nouduri (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Athanasios Polydoros (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

  • Reid Simmons (Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Harold Soh (National University of Singapore)

Contact Details