Special Issue of Robotics and Autonomous Systems on
Perceptual Anchoring
Anchoring symbols to sensor data
in single and multiple robot systems
Call for Papers


The Elsevier journal Robotics and Autonomous Systems carries articles describing fundamental developments in the field of robotics, with special emphasis on autonomous systems. An important goal of this journal is to extend the state of the art in both symbolic and sensory based robot control and learning in the context of autonomous systems.

The anchoring problem is an important aspect of the connection between symbolic and sensory based processes in autonomous robotic systems. Anchoring is the problem of how to create, and to maintain in time, the connection between the symbol- and the signal-level representations of the same physical object.

Anchoring must necessarily occur in any physically embedded system that comprises a symbolic reasoning component. A typical example is the problem of connecting, inside an autonomous robot, the symbol used by a planner to refer to a particular box, say `box-21', to the data that correspond to that box in the sensori-motoric system. This connection must be dynamic since the same symbol must be associated to new entities in the perceptual stream in order to track the object over time or to re-acquire it at a later moment.

Anchoring must also occur in a multiple robot system, since the robots must agree about the meaning of the symbols used to refer to perceived objects in the environment. We talk in this case of "grounded communication." A typical example is the problem of establishing the correspondence between the symbols used by two different robots embedded in the same physical environment to refer to the same physical object. Grounded communication is also needed for efficient human-robot cooperation.


Most current solutions to the anchoring problem are developed on a system by system basis for restricted domains. This is unfortunate, since having a general theory of anchoring would greatly advance our ability to build intelligent embedded systems, and to transfer techniques and results across different systems. The aim of this special issue is to collect relevant pieces of work that can be instrumental in building such a theory.

We solicit original papers which report novel contributions to the analysis and the solution of the anchoring problem in autonomous robots. We especially encourage papers that present techniques which have been experimentally validated on real single or multiple robot systems. Papers of a more theoretical nature reporting strong fundamental results will also be considered. Submissions will be peer reviewed for scientific and presentation quality, and for relevance to this special issue.

Submission procedure

Papers should be typeset according to the format instructions for the Robotics and Autonomous Systems journal, available at the Elsevier web page, or from the guest editors. Length should not exceed 16 pages in the above format. Papers should be submitted electronically in either PostScript or PDF format. To submit a paper, please do the following.

  1. Name the file name-of-corresponding-author.ps (or .pdf)
  2. Upload the file by anonymous FTP to ftp://aass.oru.se/incoming/saffiotti
  3. Send an e-mail message to alessandro.saffiotti@aass.oru.se with the following contents:
    Name of the file
    Date and time of upload
    Paper title
    Name, affiliation, and email of all authors
    Postal address of corresponding author
    Phone and fax of corresponding author
    Abstract (maximum 200 words)

All submissions will be acknowledged within a few days.

Important Dates

  March 1, 2002 Submissions due
  May 30, 2002 Notification of acceptance
  July 15, 2002 Camera ready papers due
-> May 2003 Expected publication date

Guest editors

Silvia Coradeschi
Alessandro Saffiotti

Dept of Technology, University of Örebro
Fakultetsgatan 1, S-70182 Örebro, Sweden
Email: silvia.coradeschi@aass.oru.se
Email: alessandro.saffiotti@aass.oru.se
Tel: +46 (19) 30-3390
Fax: +46 (19) 30-3463


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