SciRoc promotes the vision that a smart city consists in an ecosystem of systems, where the variety of technologies used, the scenarios in which they can be applied and the diversity and the distribution of data sources employed is the main novelty with respect to other areas (e.g. business, education and governance) . In this vision, digital hubs collect and integrate real time data about the city operations in order to support intelligent decision making and resource optimisation.
Despite the advances in the area of robotics, the integration of autonomous systems in smart cities is however still at an early stage, mostly due to the difficulties of dealing with complex and large scale scenarios. Recent developments, such as autonomous cars and service robots, provide however evidence that smart cities are indeed a privileged environment for the introduction of robotic technologies.
ERL Smart Cities aims at addressing the existing gap, by addressing how robots can integrate and co-operate with a complex city environment, and through assessing how robots can act both as data collectors and data consumers of the cities’ digital hubs. In addition, ERL Smart Cities will host the first robotics challenges, where robots will interact with ordinary people (i.e. customers of the shopping mall), thus promoting the smart cities as a new ground for robotics competitions, offering unique opportunities to boost the robots’ social acceptance (as companions or helpers) and the smart interaction with other devices and resources. European robotics researchers and developers will be called to demonstrate their technologies and systems in high profile competitive demonstrations in a smart city environment through two major SciRoc challenges, the first of which will be held in Milton Keynes in 2019, while the second to be held in 2021 in a city identified through a call for hosts during 2019.
 M. d’Aquin, J. Davies, and E. Motta. Smart cities’ data: Challenges and opportunities for semantic technologies. IEEE Internet Computing, 19(6):66– 70, 2015.