Workshop overview

The development of robots capable of interacting with humans has made tremendous progress in the last decade, leading to an expectation that in the near future, robots will be increasingly deployed in public spaces, for example as receptionists, shop assistants, waiters, or bartenders. In these scenarios, robots must necessarily deal with situations that require socially appropriate human-robot interactions of a specific nature: interactions that are short and dynamic, and where the robot has to be able to deal with multiple people at once. In order to do so, robots typically require specific skills, including robust video and audio processing, fast reasoning and decision making mechanisms, and natural and safe output path planning algorithms. As a result, research on public space robots is often fundamentally different from other work in social robotics and HRI that focuses on long-term, robot companions who interact with humans in one-on-one interactions.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines, in order to explore this research area from different perspectives. To allow for a full and productive discussion among all participants, the workshop will include an extended session organised using the Open Space meeting format.

This workshop is the fourth in a series of meetings (and the third workshop) organised around the theme of public space human-robot interaction. Details of previous events can be found on the PubRob website.


Contributions to the workshop are sought in all areas relevant to the overall goal of the workshop, including---but not limited to---the folowing topics:

  • activity recognition
  • audiovisual signal processing
  • cognitive robotics
  • design of service robots / interaction systems in public spaces
  • evaluation of robots in real-world contexts
  • intention recognition
  • knowledge representation and reasoning
  • multimodal fusion
  • multimodal interaction management
  • natural language generation
  • person tracking
  • planning and decision making under uncertainty
  • robust spoken language processing
  • speech recognition in noisy environments

These topics cover a wide range of research communities including multimodal interaction, dialogue systems, human-robot interaction, robotics, automated planning, computer vision, and signal processing. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the workshop topic, relevant contributions from other fields will also be welcome.


Prospective workshop participants are encouraged to submit a short abstract (max. 2 pages) on one of the above topics, outlining their work in this area. Abstracts will be reviewed by the programme committee for relevance and accepted abstracts will be presented at the workshop during a lightning talk session (see proposed schedule, below). Students will be particularly encouraged to submit position papers and participate in the lightning session as a means for getting feedback on their research from the community. Accepted abstracts will also form the proceedings for the workshop and be posted on the workshop website.

Papers should be formatted using the same templates as for the main conference:

Paper submission will be through the PubRob 2016 submission site on EasyChair.

Important dates

22 August 2016 Final date for paper submissions
27 August 2016 Workshop in New York City as part of RO-MAN 2016

Update: The submission site for PubRob 2016 will remain open until 22 August. Paper submissions will be accepted up to that date.

Invited speakers

  • Frauke Zeller, School of Professional Communication, Ryerson University, Canada
  • David Harris Smith, Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia, McMaster University, Canada
  • Bilge Mutlu, Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Preliminary schedule (subject to change)

The morning session of the workshop will follow a somewhat traditional format, with invited speakers and short "lightning" talks from all other participants. The afternoon session of the workshop is devoted to an "unconference" using the Open Space format. The goal of this event is to allow participants to discuss any topic in public-space HRI that they are passionate about, in small groups of people who care about the same topic. Open Space events are self-organised: topics are proposed by participants, sessions are run by participants, with the organisers facilitating the process.

09:00-09:30 Introduction Manuel Giuliani, Mary Ellen Foster
Workshop Introduction and Overview
09:30-10:30 Invited talk Frauke Zeller, David Harris Smith
Leveraging Complex Cognitive Environments for Public Space Human-Robot Interaction

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Talks Talks from all participants

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Invited talk Bilge Mutlu
Designing for the Wild, Wild West: Seven Challenges in the Design of Robots for Public Use
14:30-15:00 Introduction Manuel Giuliani, Mary Ellen Foster
Introduction to the Open Space Format

15:00-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-17:00 Discussion Open Space sessions
17:00 Closing