Revision History:

1 Aug 2005: Ken Goldberg, goldberg@ieor.berkeley.edu:  created.

7 Aug 2005: Ken Goldberg, revised after informal discussions at IROS05.

30 Aug 2005: Ken Goldberg, revised after email feedback


This (DRAFT) Charter summarizes the roles, objectives, duties, and

procedures of the RAS Technical Activities Board, including its

officers, Technical Committees, and Distinguished Lecturers.  It is

intended to expand on the RAS Bylaws.  Some aspects, such as the

revised role of Distinguished Lecturers, are provisional until

approved by the TAB and Adcomm.


Working with the RAS Boards of Publications, Conferences, Membership,

Industrial Activities, and Finance, the Technical Activities Board

(TAB) focuses on the research content of the Robotics and Automation

Society, tracking technical developments and encouraging innovation

in: applications, theory, models, metrics, experiments, architectures,

products, initiatives, and other technical areas.


The TAB is chaired by the Vice-President of Technical Activities

(VP-TA) [provisional: and two Associate-VPs].  The TAB includes the

Chairs and Co-Chairs of all Technical Committees, the Editors-in-Chief

of the Transactions and Magazine, the VP for Conferences, and up to

five additional members appointed by the VPTA.


The TAB reports to the RAS President and Adcomm and coordinates the

RAS Technical Committees (TCs) and the RAS Distinguished Lecturer(DL)

program.  The TAB maintains a website with links to the TCs and DLs.

For the purposes of evaluating progress of TC's and their research

areas, the VPTA collects reports from each TC and DL semi-annually and

provides summary reports to the Adcomm.  The VPTA also coordinates the

annual Young Professionals Lunch at ICRA.


RAS Technical Committees


The role of each TC is to serve as a focal point for research in a

specific area.  TCs encourage research in their area by forming a

critical mass of researchers (via meetings, webpages, and email) and

organizing and promote Activities (including meetings and publications

as summarized below) that foster dialogue on and experimentation with

new results.  TCs also evaluate and communicate new developments and

advise RAS officers on technical matters as requested.  TCs advise

Conference Chairs on potential sessions, workshops and tutorials,

plenary speakers, and other technical aspects of conference content.


Technical Committees are usually created in response to emerging

topics, methods, or applications, and can also be created to

coordinate and encourage new research on established topics, methods,

or applications.  See Appendix I: Establishing New Technical

Committees, below.  According to the RAS Bylaws, TCs are evaluated

every 4 years in a sunset process whereupon they are retired or

renewed.  See Appendix II: Sunset Review of Technical Committees


Each TC is defined by a "scope" that describes its technical focus,

motivation, and areas of primary interest.  Each TC maintains a

membership list that includes email contacts of those who have

requested membership (it is not necessary to be an RAS member to be a

TC member).


Each TC is led by a Chair (who is responsible for prompt communication

via email see below), and up to two Co-Chairs. TC Chairs and Co-Chairs

are recommended by the TAB and approved by the RAS President Elect.

Chairs and Co-Chairs can serve a maximum of 3 consecutive 2-year

terms, and become eligible again after a lapse of 2 years.  TC Chairs

must be responsive to email from the VPTA and from current and

prospective members.  TC Chairs can be replaced by the VPTA after a 4

week warning if they are unresponsive to communication.


TCs must be unbiased, open to different views, and cannot be used to

promote commercial products or research without clearly acknowledging

conflicts of interest and possible risks and limitations of products.


"Technical Activities"


Semi-annually, each TC reports the "Technical Activities" that have

occurred in their area during the past six months.  In this context,

"Technical Activities" relate to the TC research area and include:


1) Publications (books, PhD theses, special issues or sections of

                 journals or magazines)

2) Meetings (special workshops, tutorials, sessions, or symposia).

3) other activities



Duties of the VPTA


The Vice President of Technical Activities (VPTA) is elected by the

Adcomm and serves a 2 year term.


1.      Encourage RAS Research and Technical Activity

2.      Organize and Chair semi-annual TAB meetings

3.      Coordinate TC Activity

4.      Administer DL Program (and funding requests)

5.      Organize the annual Young Professionals Lunch at ICRA

6.      Serve as a reliable point of contact for the TAB

7.      Attend Excomm and Adcomm meetings

8.      Administer budget for TC promotion and website improvement

9.      Administer budget DL budget (check the amount)

10.  Administer Annual Most Active TC Award

11.  Administer Annual Most Active DL Award [provisional]

12.  Coordinate and promtly submit semi-annual reports to the Adcomm

13.  Maintain the TAB website

14.  Communicate at least twice a year with TC Chairs

15.  Promptly respond to inquiries from fellow researchers and the press

16.  Alert President about major research developments

17.  Propose New Initiatives to the TAB, President, and Adcomm

18.  Recommend TC Chairs to the President-elect

19.  Recommend Distinguished Lecturers to the President-elect

20.  Recommend two Associate VPs TAB (one per region)

21.  Recommend new TCs to the Adcomm

22.  Recommend retiring TCs to the Adcomm







Duties of TC Chairs


Every 2 years, the incoming RAS President appoints TC Chairs and

Co-Chairs.  TC Chairs and Co-Chairs serve for 2 years and their term

is renewable for up to 2 additional terms (eligible again after a

lapse of 2 years).


1.      Serve as a reliable point of contact for the TC via email

2.      Coordinate and promtly submit semi-annual reports to the VP-TA

3.      Submit one TC Technical Progress Slide (see Appendix IV)

4.      at least 4 weeks prior to ICRA each year

5.      Define and annually update the TC scope

6.      Maintain the TC website

7.      Maintain the TC membership list (including email addresses)

8.      Recruit new members

9.      Attending semi-annual TAB meetings (or sending a representative)

10.  Communicate at least twice a year with TC members via group email

11.  Encourage research in their area

12.  Advise junior researchers in their area

13.  Track major developments in their area

14.  Promptly respond to inquiries from fellow researchers and the press

15.  Alert VP-TA about major research developments

16.  Evaluate new results and initiatives when requested by the VP-TA

17.  Recommend reviewers when requested by EICs

18.  Attend the annual Young Professionals Lunch at ICRA

19.  Self-evaluate progress and consider retirement of the TC


If a TC Chair will be away from email for more than 2 weeks, he or she

shall set up appropriate auto-reply messages and appoint a Co-Chair to

handle communication during this period.  TC Chairs can be replaced

after a 4 week warning by the VPTA if they are unresponsive to










The RAS Distinguished Lecturer Program


The Distinguished Lecturer Program promotes the field of Robotics and

Automation to the broad engineering community and to the public at

large. Five DLs are appointed per geographic region (Asian and

Pacific, Europe, Americas).


Distinguished Lecturers are proposed by the TAB and appointed by

the RAS President Elect and serve for a two (2) year term, renewable

only in cases of exceptional performance.  A budget is available to

support air transport when DLs arrange speaking engagements with local

IEEE Chapters.


Duties of a Distinguished Lecturer


1.      Serve as an Ambassador for the RAS, promoting the field of R&A

2.      Arrange and Present at least 1 Public Lecture per year

(Public Lectures are aimed at non-specialists,

and can be given in high-schools, senior citizens homes,

science fairs, science museums, etc, ideally

3.      DLs will present several such talks per year)

4.      Present other lectures, for example to local IEEE Chapters

5.      Attend annual Young Professionals Lunch at ICRA

6.      Respond to Press Inquiries

7.      Interact with relevant RAS Technical Committees

8.      Encourage young students and RAS membership

9.      Promptly submit semi-annual reports to VPTA on lectures given

















Appendix I: Establishing New Technical Committees


It is not difficult to establish a new RAS Technical Committee.  The

first step is to submit an application with the information below to

the VPTA.  This is then reviewed and brought before the TAB.  If the

TAB approves, it is presented for a vote at the next Adcomm meeting.


    Application for Establishing a New Technical Committee


1. Proposed Title

2. Proposed Scope (under 200 words)

3. Motivation (under 200 words)

   recent technical developments, growing number of papers,

4. Relationship to existing TCs  (under 200 words)

    (be specific, why is it not possible to coordinate this topic

    under an existing TC?)

5. Goals within 2 and 4 years (under 100 words)

6. Proposed Chair and Co-Chairs (with affiliations and contact info)

7. Confirmation that the Proposed Chair and Co-Chairs

   have reviewed the TAB Charter and are prepared to accept

   the associated Duties.

8. List of 5 or more confirmed founding members other than co-chairs


















Appendix II: Sunset Review of Technical Committees


According to the RAS Bylaws, TCs shall be reviewed at least every 4

years by the TAB.  The details of the review process include a report

of all activity over the past 4 years, growth in membership, and an

honest evaluation of the TC by TC Chairs on the potential for retiring

the TC.  TCs will be retired based on voluntary request by the TC

Chairs, or due to inactivity or unresponsiveness of the TC-Chairs.






Appendix III: Requirements for TC Websites


             Each TC Website must contain:


1. Title

2. Scope statement (under 200 words)

3. Current Number of Members

4. Names and Affiliations of Chair and co-Chairs

5. Contact Info for TC Chair (and others willing to be listed)

6. List of Activities with links

7. Links to related initiatives, labs, events

8. Links for more info on results presented in

       most recent TC Technical Progress Slide (see Appendix IV)

9. Archive of past TC Technical Progress Slides

10. Optional: links to key papers and PhD theses

11. Date when last updated












Appendix IV: TC Technical Progress Slide


Each year, EACH TC prepares an annual Technical Progress Summary that

is a one-page powerpoint slide from the Technical Committee

illustrating examples of technical progress in their area.  This slide

is submitted to the VPTA at least 4 weeks prior to ICRA each year, and

will be presented to the Adcomm meeting associated with ICRA, at the

Young Professionals Lunch, and may be printed and handed out to

attendees.  The purpose of the Technical Progress Slide is to increase

awareness of the TC, attract members, and inform the RAS community

about interesting developments.


The powerpoint slide should clearly indicate the Technical Committee

name, URL, and Chair's email (in fonts that can be read when printed 3

to a page).  The slides should graphically illustrate at least one

technical development (a new theoretical result, application, product,

book, etc) (with appropriate citation).  Further details on the

technical development should be available through a link on the TC

home page.