Institutional
Objectives


LARSyS aims at research excellence at the highest international level in Robotics and Engineering Systems, including building-up new knowledge bases with impact in ocean, urban, aeronautic and space, biomedical, and future working environments, as well as to stimulate new industry-science relations and deepen our understanding of network science.

Our ultimate goal is to be actively involved in a new generation of research question and issues in Robotics and Engineering Systems.

Regarding ocean exploration, our researchers aim to secure new mineral, hydrocarbon, and offshore energy resources in a way to help maximizing deep-sea exploration and avoiding negative impacts on marine biodiversity and food resources. They will facilitate the use of advanced robotics and modern sensing technologies at 3000 meters deep, together with the necessary risk-preventing mechanisms and a web-based Observatory for participatory risk governance in South Atlantic.

In relation to urban systems, we aim to develop the necessary knowledge base to support a reduction of 20% of the water supply and 50% of the energy associated to the supply and treatment of the water and wastewater in urban regions. Lisbon region and Madeira Island will be our case studies, but the tools and pilots developed will be able to be replicated elsewhere.

In addition, our target is to help increasing significantly the amount of exports of engineering products and services from Portugal in the area of aeronautics and space in a time horizon of 2020. This will be attempted by deepening the understanding of new technology and business dynamics along the full value chain in association with the installation of Embraer in Évora, as well as emerging challenges open to related industries in the area of engineering systems.

In the biomedical area, our researchers will process biological signals (EEG, ECG, FMRI) for improved medical diagnostics, will design new MEMS, improve imaging analysis and acoustic signals, as well as deepen the analysis of brain networks. They are targeted to design, build and foster a new generation of medical diagnostics and therapies. Emphasis will be given to disease diagnosis, brain-computer interfaces and assistive technologies, while employing bio-inspired approaches to build more efficient and robust robotic systems as well as to contribute to a better understanding of the brain.

Regarding autonomous and cooperative robotic technologies (architecture, coordination, planning and actuation), we aim to design, build and foster a new generation of systems and policies towards future working environments. Our target is to facilitate a new generation of systems that interact routinely with humans in different application contexts (including manufacturing, homes, hospitals and public spaces). This will be attempted through service robots and applications to office/manufacturing/domestic/agriculture, human-robot interaction, including symbiotic robotics and manipulation, as well as learning strategies and policies for the next generations.

To succeed in all the above-mentioned application fields, we need to explore new frontiers of knowledge in themes associated with large-scale distributed decision. Our target is to enable new knowledge in network science to undertake core challenges such as distributed optimization and decision-making for large-scale dynamic networks, Big Data processing, and user communities' representation for pro-social behaviors and actuation upon them.

Overall, our researchers aim to foster new frontiers in Robotics and Engineering Systems, covering dynamical cyber-physical systems, human computer interaction and social-technical systems, as well as policy research dealing with uncertainty and risk governance. This will involve the following general strategic objectives:
  • Promote scientific research and technological development in emerging areas of interest in Robotics and Engineering Systems, through major research projects with national or international Universities, R&D institutions and industrial companies;
  • Promote active intellectual collaboration among researchers with varied backgrounds and perspectives acquired in different kinds of science (e.g., experimental, computational and theoretical), different sectors (university, industry, governmental and regional administration) and different regions;
  • Provide education and research experience for graduate and undergraduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and industrial fellows, providing exposure to leading-edge research and introducing the students to large-scale collaborative research ventures;
  • Promote the diffusion of scientific results through publications and by organizing seminars, conferences, exchange visiting programs and scientific meetings at a national or international setting;
To achieve these objectives, our researchers aim to perform research activities together with advanced training and technology transfer and commercialization. At the level of advanced training, our goals consider initiatives at post-doctoral, doctoral and master level in the areas of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Sustainable Energy Systems, Engineering and Public Policy and Technology Management Enterprise. LARSyS researchers coordinate many of these programs, at master and doctoral level, and have led a number of new initiatives at international level, including the MIT-Portugal and the Carnegie Mellon joint ventures.

They have been implemented through IST, Lisbon and the University of Madeira along three main pillars: (a) joint international partnerships, (b) national doctoral programs and (c) specialized training. The first privileges the strategic long term cooperation with a few high-level partners, at the best international level; the second follows traditional forms of advanced training and have been very important to open a social basis for high level advanced training; and the third pillar is based on the organization of research workshops and summer schools, which have been particularly important to foster new fields of research.

At the level of technology transfer and commercialization LarSyS aims to use and deepen four main formal and informal mechanisms, as follows: i) advanced training of skilled human resources and their employment in advanced, technology-based companies, from small to large enterprises; ii) direct incubation of new technology based companies; iii) indirect incubation of new technology based companies, through networks of technology transfer Offices, in particular through UTEN ("University Technology Entreprise Network", with linkages in UT Austin, MIT and Carnegie Mellon Universities); and iv) through specific challenges and competitions to foster Knowledge transfer processes and the creation of new business ventures.
with the support of: