ACRA 2020

ACRA2020 – 8th-10th December, Brisbane, QLD

This year, the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA) will be jointly organised by the Australian Robotics and Automation Association (ARAA) and the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO’s Data61. Since it is first edition in 1999, the conference has travelled all around Australasia and this year it will be held in Brisbane.


Hosted online, ACRA will be live streamed from CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT), located in the emerging robotics hub of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

QCAT is an integrated research and development precinct for the resources and advanced technology industries. Its facilities include the recently launched Robotics Innovation Centre, a flight test area, an underground test area as well as a Remote Management Centre.


The conference will run from Tue 8 December to Thu 10 December, 9am-5pm, hosted online due to COVID-19.

Check the ‘Program’ tab above to see the full event schedule.


  • Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay (General Chair) – tirtha dot bandy at
  • Paulo Borges (Program Chair) – paulo dot borges at
  • Andreia Virmond (Publicity Chair) – andreia dot virmond at
  • Navinda Kottege, CSIRO – Online Arrangements Chair

Registrations are now open!

The registration will have two categories this year:

  • A ‘paper fee’ ($250 AUD) – this is associated to a paper, not an individual. Click here to register and please include your ‘Submission Paper Number’ as a reference.
  • Participant registration ($0 – FREE) – for all authors and the general community . Register via this link.



Program out now

Our full program has been released, please check it here (all times in AEST – Brisbane GMT+10).

Christoph Stiller – Professor, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Keynote topic: “Towards Automated Vehicles – The long way from research to deployment.”

Abstract: This talk with discuss the state-of-the-art and a potential evolution of self-driving cars. An adequate treatment of uncertainties and the procurement of behavioral safety build demanding challenges for achieving full autonomy for self-driving cars. The talk will address some open technical issues and will discuss some approaches towards their solution. It will compare different market introduction strategies. We will look at many examples, including the DARPA and GCDC Challenges. The talk will draw on lessons learned from the perspective of the German Research Priority Program “Cooperative Interactive Automobiles”.

Bio: Christoph Stiller studied Electrical Engineering in Aachen, Germany and Trondheim, Norway, and received the Diploma degree and the Dr.-Ing. degree (Ph.D.) from Aachen University of Technology in 1988 and 1994, respectively. He worked with INRS-Telecommunications in Montreal, Canada for a post-doctoral year in 1994/1995 and with Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany from 1995 – 2001. In 2001 he became Chaired Professor and Director of the Institute for Measurement and Control Systems at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Dr. Stiller serves as Senior Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles (2015-ongoing) and as Associate Editor for the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine (2012-ongoing). He served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine (2009-2011). His automated driving team AnnieWAY has been finalist in the Darpa Urban Challenge 2007 as well as first and second winner of the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge in 2011 and 2016, respectively. He has served is several positions for the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society including being its President 2012-2013.

Peter Corke – Professor, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Keynote topic: “Creating robots that see”

Abstract: This talk will define and motivate the problem of robotic vision, the challenges as well as recent progress at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. This includes component technologies such as novel cameras, deep learning for computer vision, transfer learning for manipulation, evaluation methodologies, and also end-to-end systems for applications such as logistics, agriculture, environmental remediation and asset inspection.

Bio: Peter Corke is a robotics researcher and educator. He is the distinguished professor of robotic vision at Queensland University of Technology, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision and Chief Scientist at Dorabot. His research is concerned with enabling robots to see, and the application of robots to mining, agriculture and environmental monitoring. He created widely used open-source software for teaching and research, wrote the best selling textbook “Robotics, Vision, and Control”, created several MOOCs and the Robot Academy, and has won national and international recognition for teaching including 2017 Australian University Teacher of the Year. He is a fellow of the IEEE, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Australian Academy of Science; founding editor of the Journal of Field Robotics; founding multi-media editor of the International Journal of Robotics Research; member of the editorial advisory board of the Springer Tracts on Advanced Robotics series; former editor-in-chief of the IEEE Robotics & Automation magazine and member of the executive editorial board member of the International Journal of Robotics Research; the recipient of the Qantas/Rolls-Royce and Australian Engineering Excellence awards; and has held visiting positions at Oxford, University of Illinois, Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania. He received his undergraduate and masters degrees in electrical engineering and PhD from the University of Melbourne.

Dana Kulic – Professor and Director of Robotics, Monash University, Australia

Keynote topic: “Learning from Human-Robot Interaction”

Abstract: As robots enter human environments, they will need to interact with humans in a variety of roles:  as students, teachers, collaborators and assistants.  In these roles, robots will need to adapt to users’ individual preferences and capabilities, which may not be known ahead of the interaction. In this talk, I will describe approaches for robot learning during interaction, considering robots in different roles and in a variety of applications, including rehabilitation, collaboration in industrial settings, and in education and entertainment.

Bio: Prof. Kulić conducts research in robotics and human-robot interaction (HRI), and develops autonomous systems that can operate in concert with humans, using natural and intuitive interaction strategies while learning from user feedback to improve and individualize operation over long-term use. Kulić received the combined B. A. Sc. and M. Eng. degree in electro-mechanical engineering, and the Ph. D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 1998 and 2005, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Kulić was a JSPS Post-doctoral Fellow and a Project Assistant Professor at the Nakamura-Yamane Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, Japan. In 2009, Dr. Kulić established the Adaptive System Laboratory at the University of Waterloo, Canada, conducting research in human robot interaction, human motion analysis for rehabilitation and humanoid robotics.  Since 2019, Dr. Kulić is a professor and director of Monash Robotics at Monash University, Australia. In 2020, Dr. Kulić was awarded the ARC Future Fellowship.  Her research interests include robot learning and human-robot interaction.

Luis Sentis – Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Keynote topic: “Designing and controlling high performance human-centered robots”

Abstract: Human-size humanoid robots are some of the most complex robotic systems used today in research environments. They promise to shed light in questions connected to bipedalism, legged manipulation and ergonomics. However, providing the power, speed, structure and robustness needed to match some of the human’s neuromuscular capabilities is daunting. In this talk I will address the following questions. How do you teach students (and oneself) to build world-class humanoid robots? Can controllers built for slow humanoid robots be modified for walking and quickly recovering from fall using line foot legged robots? What are some real world tasks that humanoid robots can perform today and how reliable are they performing them? What algorithms are needed for humanoid robots to walk and manipulate simultaneously? How to program multiple humanoid robots in an intuitive manner? Overall, I will delve into these topics describing high-performance experimentation, control architectures and humanoid motion planning algorithms with fun and engaging videos.

Bio: Luis Sentis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and General Dynamics Endowed Faculty Fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He holds a B.S. degree in Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Before Stanford, he worked in Silicon Valley as a Control Systems Engineer. In Austin, he leads the Human Centered Robotics Laboratory, a laboratory focusing on legged manipulation, control and experimentation with walking robots and exoskeletons, design of high performance robots, and algorithms for active sensing in human environments. He was the UT Austin’s Lead for DARPA’s Robotics Challenge with NASA Johnson Space Center where he helped to design and test the Valkyrie humanoid robot. His research has been funded by NASA, the Office of Naval Research, Army Futures Command, NSF, DARPA, and private companies. He has been awarded the NASA Elite Team Award for his contributions to NASA’s Johnson Space Center Software Robotics and Simulation Division. He is also a founding member and scientific advisor for Apptronik Systems, a company focusing on human-centered robotic products and R&D in human-augmentation exoskeletons and humanoids.


Big Science Talks

Dr. Timothy Chung – Program Manager,  DARPA


The DARPA Subterranean Challenge: Accelerating Technology through Challenges

Complex underground settings present significant challenges for civilian and military first responders due to difficult terrain, degradedenvironmental conditions, severe communication constraints, and expansive areas of operation. The DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge explores new approaches to rapidly map, navigate, and search complex underground environments, including human-made tunnel systems, urban underground, and natural cave networks to ensure that warfighters and first responders are equipped with the technologies and capabilities they need to effectively execute their future missions. In this talk, we describe the SubT Challenge and how it has leveraged and evolved DARPA’s “Grand Challenge” model to drive nascent technologies by cultivating a robotics community of competitors and collaborators, ranging from academia and industry to garage hobbyists and backyard enthusiasts. The robotics technologies and approaches developed and demonstrated could help close critical gaps in autonomy, perception, networking, and mobility to ultimately aid in protecting frontline defenders.

Bio: Dr. Timothy Chung joined DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office as a program manager in February 2016. He serves as the Program Manager for the OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics Program and the DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge. His interests include autonomous/unmanned air vehicles, collaborative autonomy for unmanned swarm system capabilities, distributed perception, distributed decision-making, and counter unmanned system technologies.

Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Chung served as an Assistant Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and Director of the Advanced Robotic Systems Engineering Laboratory (ARSENL). His academic interests included modeling, analysis, and systems engineering of operational settings involving unmanned systems, combining collaborative autonomy development efforts with an extensive live-fly field experimentation program for swarm and counter-swarm unmanned system tactics and associated technologies. Dr. Chung also served as Deputy Director of the Secretary of the Navy initiative for the Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER).

Dr. Chung holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University. He also earned Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.


Dr. Terry Fong –  Chief Roboticist, Director of Intelligent Robotics Group, NASA AMES.


Overview of the 2023 VIPER Lunar Rover Mission – Challenges and Opportunities


The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) is a NASA mission designed to explore the relatively nearby but extreme environment of the Moon in search of water ice. VIPER will land at the South Pole of the Moon in late 2023 and spend approximately 100-days mapping and surveying four different ice stability regions to understand the nature and distribution of these “in-situ resources”. The information returned by VIPER will help determine how we can harvest the Moon’s resources for future human space exploration.

NASA will use VIPER to determine where the Moon’s water ice is most likely to be found and easiest to access, making VIPER the first-ever resource mapping mission on another celestial body. The first in-situ resource maps of the Moon will mark a critical step forward in NASA’s Artemis program to establish a sustainable human presence on the surface of the Moon. Determining the distribution, physical state and composition of water ice deposits will also help us understand the sources of the lunar polar water, giving us insight into distribution and origin of water and other volatiles across the solar system. During VIPER’s exploration of the Moon, the rover will endure extreme temperature conditions, dynamic lighting and complex terrain, while near-real-time rover driving will present new design, engineering and operational challenges.

Bio: Terry Fong is NASA’s Senior Scientist for Autonomous Systems and the Chief Roboticist at the NASA Ames Research Center. Terry is also the Deputy manager for NASA’s “VIPER” rover, which will prospect for water ice on the Moon in 2023. Terry previously led development of the Astrobee free-flying robot, which was deployed to the International Space Station in 2019. Terry has published more than 150 papers in space and field robotics, human-robot interaction, virtual reality user interfaces, and planetary mapping. Terry received his B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.


Full program here.

Organising Committee

  • Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, CSIRO – General Chair
  • Paulo Borges, CSIRO – Program Chair
  • Andreia Virmond, CSIRO – Publicity Chair
  • Navinda Kottege, CSIRO – Online Arrangements Chair
  • Sue Keay, QLD AI Hub – Industry Chair

Technical Committee

  • Ahmadreza Ahmadi
  • Alen Alempijevic
  • Fernando Auat Cheein
  • Mitch Bryson
  • Marc Carmichael
  • Ross Dungavell
  • Jose Guivant
  • David Howard
  • Jay Katupitiya
  • Christina Kazantzidou
  • Sarath Kodagoda
  • Christopher F. Lehnert
  • Robert Mahony
  • Frederic Maire
  • Denny Oetomo
  • Rafael Oliveira
  • Jonathan Roberts
  • William S. P. Robertson
  • Inkyu Sa
  • Mandyam Srinivasan
  • Jaime Valls Miro
  • Jason Williams
  • Stefan Williams
  • Chow Yin Lai


For paper proceedings, please click here.

ACRA 2020 will continue to bring together researchers, engineers, academics, students, practitioners, organisations and industries to discuss the current state of the art of research and advancement of technology in areas of Robotics and Automation.

Important Dates

  • Submission of full papers by: 15th September 2020 (DEADLINE EXTENDED)
  • Notification of acceptance by: 28th October 2020
  • Camera-ready submission by: 11th November 2020
  • Conference running: 8th – 10th December 2020

Paper Format:

ACRA papers must be 6-10 pages in length (including text, references, figures and acknowledgements). Papers that do not follow these guidelines may be rejected without review.

Paper Templates:

Please use this link to download the following files:

LaTeX: style file: acra.sty, template: acra.tex, bibtex: named.bst
Microsoft Word | Star/OpenOffice: template: acra.rtf or acra.odt.

Submission portal:

To make your final submission (for accepted papers), please use this portal.