Research Topic

Telerobotics in Demanding Environments

About this Research Topic

In demanding work environments, for example, nuclear, chemical, disaster response, construction/demolition, mining, submarine tasks, there are extreme risks to the health and safety of human workers. Telerobotics is an obvious solution that can remove/distance people from such dangers. Advanced telerobotics technologies linked to dexterous locomotion and mobile manipulation platforms can substitute or assist workers in all stages, reducing or eliminating their exposure to hazards. There are two parts involved, for robots to be able to physically perform tasks and to problem-solve in complex environments. First, is the capabilities of the robot itself. This includes manipulation, locomotion, sensing, the capacity to withstand harsh conditions, etc. Second, is intelligent user interaction interface(s) that allow the human operator to intuitively control the task execution through immersive remote teleoperation.

The aim of this Research Topic is to capture promising research trends in Telerobotics in Demanding Environments. There are three key domains in remote telerobotic task execution: (i) Operator situational awareness through perception (visual, haptic, acoustic, etc.), cognition, and control in the remote environment; (ii) Remote robot capabilities (loco-manipulation, sensing, robust control, etc.); and (iii) Communication to allow seamless, high-bandwidth, low-latency, bi-directional exchange of information, in relation to real-time teleoperation.

This Research Topic will explore and understand how recent advances in these three domains can create a step-change in telerobotics in demanding and/or dangerous environments. The goal is to capture, not only the progress in operator situational awareness in teleoperation but also the enhancements in robot capabilities with respect to operating in high-risk environments.

To achieve this goal, the Research Topic will showcase recent developments that improve operator performance in telerobotics through the use of mixed reality interfaces, immersive haptic teleoperation, and multimodal sensory feedback. At the same time, the advancements in robot design, control, and sensing capabilities for executing tasks in harsh environments will be highlighted. The novel use of cloud robotics and advanced communication infrastructures will further demonstrate the full potential of telerobotic systems in the real world.

This Research Topic explores themes including, but not limited to:

• Mixed reality interfaces for telerobotics
• Haptic teleoperation in real-world tasks
• Advanced Tele-locomotion on difficult terrain
• Multimodal sensory perception (visual, haptic, acoustic, others)
• Robot design and control for harsh environments
• AI, perception, and scene understanding in dirty and cluttered environments
• Dexterous telemanipulation in cluttered spaces
• Haptics for teleoperation and immersivity of the operator
• Shared autonomy and interactive learning in remote human-robot interaction

Article Types accepted to this Research Topic include:

• Original Research Article
• Systematic Review
• Articles extended from recent conference publications (50% new contribution)
• Hypothesis and Theory
• Field Trial Reports
• Brief Research Report


Keywords: Telerobotic System Design, Mixed Reality Interfaces, Tele-locomotion, Bilateral Tele-manipulation, Shared Autonomy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In demanding work environments, for example, nuclear, chemical, disaster response, construction/demolition, mining, submarine tasks, there are extreme risks to the health and safety of human workers. Telerobotics is an obvious solution that can remove/distance people from such dangers. Advanced telerobotics technologies linked to dexterous locomotion and mobile manipulation platforms can substitute or assist workers in all stages, reducing or eliminating their exposure to hazards. There are two parts involved, for robots to be able to physically perform tasks and to problem-solve in complex environments. First, is the capabilities of the robot itself. This includes manipulation, locomotion, sensing, the capacity to withstand harsh conditions, etc. Second, is intelligent user interaction interface(s) that allow the human operator to intuitively control the task execution through immersive remote teleoperation.

The aim of this Research Topic is to capture promising research trends in Telerobotics in Demanding Environments. There are three key domains in remote telerobotic task execution: (i) Operator situational awareness through perception (visual, haptic, acoustic, etc.), cognition, and control in the remote environment; (ii) Remote robot capabilities (loco-manipulation, sensing, robust control, etc.); and (iii) Communication to allow seamless, high-bandwidth, low-latency, bi-directional exchange of information, in relation to real-time teleoperation.

This Research Topic will explore and understand how recent advances in these three domains can create a step-change in telerobotics in demanding and/or dangerous environments. The goal is to capture, not only the progress in operator situational awareness in teleoperation but also the enhancements in robot capabilities with respect to operating in high-risk environments.

To achieve this goal, the Research Topic will showcase recent developments that improve operator performance in telerobotics through the use of mixed reality interfaces, immersive haptic teleoperation, and multimodal sensory feedback. At the same time, the advancements in robot design, control, and sensing capabilities for executing tasks in harsh environments will be highlighted. The novel use of cloud robotics and advanced communication infrastructures will further demonstrate the full potential of telerobotic systems in the real world.

This Research Topic explores themes including, but not limited to:

• Mixed reality interfaces for telerobotics
• Haptic teleoperation in real-world tasks
• Advanced Tele-locomotion on difficult terrain
• Multimodal sensory perception (visual, haptic, acoustic, others)
• Robot design and control for harsh environments
• AI, perception, and scene understanding in dirty and cluttered environments
• Dexterous telemanipulation in cluttered spaces
• Haptics for teleoperation and immersivity of the operator
• Shared autonomy and interactive learning in remote human-robot interaction

Article Types accepted to this Research Topic include:

• Original Research Article
• Systematic Review
• Articles extended from recent conference publications (50% new contribution)
• Hypothesis and Theory
• Field Trial Reports
• Brief Research Report


Keywords: Telerobotic System Design, Mixed Reality Interfaces, Tele-locomotion, Bilateral Tele-manipulation, Shared Autonomy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

10 July 2021 Abstract
12 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

10 July 2021 Abstract
12 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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