First SciRoc Challenge 2019

The first ERL Smart CIty RObotic Challenge (the SciRoc challenge) was held at centre:mk, Milton Keynes (UK), from September 18th to September 21st, 2019. The detailed schedule of the competition can be accessed here, images from the competition can be accessed here, and you can also relive the action by means of the SciRoc-Replay Application.

The challenge focused on smart shopping and was divided into a series of episodes, each consisting of a task to be performed through addressing specific research challenges. During each episode, robots had to cooperate continuously with a simulated digital infrastructure of a smart shopping mall, in order to accomplish their tasks. Teams were expected to participate in one or more episodes according to their research interests.

Structure of the Challenge

The challenge was divided into several episodesAn episode places a functionality tested during a specific Functional Benchmark (FBM) into an operational context. This means that, during an episode, the tested functionality requires the integration with other system components, but limits the efforts for their development (using, for instance, off-the-shelf solutions). Although the goal is to target specifically one functionality (or exceptionally, two), an effort to integrate the main functionality and the other ones might be required in order to complete the episode.

Episodes were organised into categories depending on the task to achieve and the type of robots involved. We refer to three categories:

  • HRI&Mobility: episodes involving robots able to show social behaviours, such as verbally interacting with (human) customers or navigating respecting proxemics, in line with the current ERL-Consumer. These are meant for any robot (wheeled, or legged) with navigational and verbal communication.
  • Manipulation: episodes requiring robots to achieve manipulation tasks, applying ERL-Professional services to the smart city context. Episodes here are meant for any robot able to navigate and equipped with arms and effectors for the manipulation of objects.
  • Emergency: tasks and challenges addressed by small VTOL aerial robots, along the lines of the ERL-Emergency. Any VTOL aerial platform able to carry and deliver items in specific locations, navigate in outdoor and indoor spaces, detect and avoid obstacles can take part to episodes of this category.


The following episodes were part of the first SciRoc challenge.

(E03) Deliver coffee shop orders

(E04) Take the elevator

(E07) Shopping pick and pack

(E10) Open the door

(E12) Fast delivery of emergency pills

Please access the current drafts of the rulebooks to see the detailed description and evaluation criteria for each episode.

Important dates

  • Expression of interest: Sep 01 – Oct 15, 2018
  • Rulebook publication: Dec 15, 2018
  • Registration: Mar 01 – May 30, 2019

Note that a dedicated booth will be present at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS2018) between Oct 1st and Oct 5th 2018, in order to attract team interests and episode preferences.

Loan a PAL/Robotics TIAGo

PAL Robotics, SciRoc Platinum Sponsors, offers the possibility of loaning a TIAGo to make it easier for teams to participate in this new and challenging robotics competition. Teams showing outstanding expertise and innovative developments will have the chance to receive one of the TIAGo Steel and one of the TIAGo Iron robots for free. Find the full TIAGo loan conditions and application procedure here.