From Internet to Robotics: The Next Transformative Technology

Over the last two decades, the internet has—in many ways—transformed our daily lives from work routines to social networking. The internet is an impressive media for interconnecting computers. However, almost all these computers are passive devices with no or very limited facilities for interaction with the physical world. Robots—on the other hard—are devices designed to interact intelligently with the environment. Over the next decade or two the prediction is that robotics will impact our daily lives in manners that, at least, matches the way the internet has impacted our life.


Already, today, robotics allow us to perform better surgery, to automatically park cars, to clean our homes and explore remote planets. Society is, at present, experiencing significant aging which will impact industry, healthcare, and our daily lives. Robotics facilitates a higher degree of autonomy for people, new methods for manufacturing closer to the customer, and an entirely new industry in terms of services, not to mention new technologies for security and defense. Robotics has the potential to radically change most aspects of our lives from work to domestic chores to entertainment.

This CCC study generated a roadmap of applications for robotics across users, producers, and researchers. The objective was to provide a comprehensive view of the use of robotics, main obstacles to deployment, and identification of key competencies to facilitate the transformation. Some of these key competencies are not available today due to fundamental problems in design of systems. The process identified such basic problems that will have to be addressed in order to ensure continued progress. Both market drivers and technology push will be considered as mechanisms for design of new systems.

The 2008-2009 CCC study involved several domains to ensure coverage across a diverse set of possible applications and also broad involvement of the community. A fundamental objective of the study was to ensure that basic research addresses the key problems that will allow American companies to have a leading role in the deployment of future generations of robots.


A Research Roadmap for Robotics in Manufacturing and Automation Workshop

June 17, 2008, Washington DC

A Research Roadmap for Medical and Healthcare Robotics Workshop

June 18-20, 2008, Washington DC

A Research Roadmap for Domestic and Professional Service Robotics Workshop

August 7-8, 2008, San Francisco, CA

A Research Roadmap for Emerging Technologies and Trends Workshop

August 14-15, 2008, Snowbird, UT


Henrik I. Christensen [ Georgia Institute of Technology (PI) ]
Oliver Brock [ University of Massachusetts ]
Ken Goldberg [ University of California at Berkeley ]
John Hollerbach [ University of Utah ]
Seth Hutchinson [ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ]
Leslie Kaebling [ Massachusetts Institute of Technology ]
Vijay Kumar [ University of Pennsylvania ]
Matt Mason [ Carnegie Mellon University ]
Gaurav Sukhatme [ University of South Carolina ]
Sebastian Thrun [ Stanford University ]
Jeff Trinkle [ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ]


Congressional Robotics Caucus

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society

Robotics Online

Rodney Brooks Essay [PDF]

Mason & Christensen Essay [PDF]

Robotics Roadmap Article by Tom Atwood in Robots Magazine
Courtesy of Robot magazine []

Academic Leaders in Robotics Research Announce Effort To Create National Strategy for Robotics Growth
Pittsburgh, April 24, 2008

2013 Robotics Roadmap