Call for Papers

Space exploration represents a complex and multifaceted problem domain for autonomous systems. Harsh and distant environments, long time delays, high costs, and other challenges highlight the value of autonomy, but make it difficult to achieve in practice. The cost of failure is high, as robots will often be required to perform mission-/safety-critical operations, sometimes in novel environments for which little a priori knowledge or human oversight is available. At the same time, such autonomy must remain sufficiently trustworthy, accessible, and comprehensible to human stakeholders (mission scientists, engineers, astronauts, etc.) to add value in achieving mission objectives. On Earth, recent developments in perception, manipulation, and learning are rapidly improving the capabilities of terrestrial robotic systems for a wide range of applications. However, integration into the space domain is occurring at a more gradual pace, despite this context being the absolute test of autonomy.

We are excited to announce a new workshop to address these issues by “Bridging the Gap in Space Robotics” to be held at RSS 2017. This workshop will bring together researchers working to advance terrestrial systems with those investigating space applications to help identify a set of “grand challenges and opportunities” for space robotics. Top researchers, engineers, scientists, and practitioners from the space exploration, space robotics, and autonomous robotics communities will explore: (1) how advancements in terrestrial robotics might be applied to space and (2) how the challenges of operating in space may inspire and drive further research and enhancement of these techniques.

The program is anticipated to combine invited and contributed talks from academics as well as researchers working at government space agencies and space-related industries. The workshop will include keynote talks, panel discussions, interactive poster/breakout sessions, and selected spotlight talks to maximize interaction between participants from the space and robotics communities.

Submission Information

We invite participants to submit extended abstracts that describe recent or ongoing research related to relevant aspects and applications for space robotics, including advances in tools and methods for perception, manipulation, learning, control, planning, robot teaming/coordination and human-autonomy interaction. Submissions (minimum two pages, maximum six pages, excluding references) should be in PDF format and adhere to the RSS paper format (using templates available in LaTeX or Word). We encourage authors to accompany their submissions with a video that describes or demonstrates their work. Videos of accepted submissions will be posted to the workshop website along with extended abstracts. Reviews will not be double blind and submissions should include author names and affiliations.

Extended abstracts and supplementary materials can be submitted by logging into the conference management website located at:


Authors of accepted submissions will have the opportunity to disseminate their work through poster presentations and “reverse spotlight” talks in breakout groups clustered by submission topic. In this novel format, authors of accepted short paper contributions will be asked to first give 3 minute poster presentations of their work to other workshop participants in assigned breakout groups. Each breakout group will then discuss specific research issues, ideas, and opportunities in the context of these presentations along the workshop themes. Finally, groups will summarize the paper contributions by recording their ideas in Google Slides and giving a brief overview reporting on their discussions to the rest of the workshop audience. A subset of the top submissions will also be selected for extended spotlight talks in the form of oral presentations to the entire workshop.