The Future of Robot Rescue Simulation

Scientific challenge

The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) is now finished. In the challenge robot systems and software teams were vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. It was designed to be extremely difficult. Participating teams, representing some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, are collaborating and innovating on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that will enable their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected for their relevance to disaster response.

Yet, in the DRC a team of humans is controlling a single robot. The challenge of the RoboCup, to be finished before 2050, is to build a team of rescue robots controlled by a single human. The purpose of the workshop is to set a new milestone, and design an environment and scenario which can be used inside the RoboCup Rescue competition for the coming 10 years and in which innovative scientific and technological solutions for rescue robots can be developed and validated.

Workshop Program

Day 1 - Monday Feb 29

  •   9:00 - 10:00 Arrival, registration, with coffee and tea
  • 10:00 - 10:20 Welcome, purpose of the Workshop
  • 10:20 - 11:00 Success Stories of USARSim    -   Arnoud Visser - Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • coffee break
  • Lunch@Snellius Cafeteria
  • thee break
  • 16:00-17:00 Testing your robot control system with Gazebo with an USARSim arena - Teams of Participants

Day 2 - Tuesday March 1

  • coffee break
  • Lunch@Snellius Cafeteria

Day 3 - Wednesday March 2

  • coffee break
  • Lunch@Snellius Cafeteria
  • 14:00-17:00 - Hands-on: detecting and opening a door - team of participants
  • 17:00-17:30 - Forum discussion - what control and perception components are missing in Gazebo?

Day 4 - Thursday March 3

  • coffee break
  • Lunch@Snellius Cafeteria
  • 14:00-15:30 - Hands-on: preparing for competition - Teams of participants
  • 15:30-17:00 - A single competition round based with an USARSim world and the native Gazebo interface
  • 17:00-18:00 - Forum discussion: the roadmap for the coming 10 year

Day 5 - Friday March 4

  • coffee break I
  • coffee break II
  • Lunch@Snellius Cafeteria
  • 14:00-14:30 - Presentation of Rules
  • 14:30-15:00 - Conclusions and goodbye


A number of renowned speakers will be invited to combine a talk with a short tutorial:


The workshop is intended for graduate students and researchers active in the RoboCup Rescue (both Virtual and Real), the Darpa Robotics Challenge (both Virtual and Real) and comparible competitions, like the Elrob, Eurathlon and Humabots Challenge. The number of participants is limited to 25, the maximum capacity of the Snellius venue. Thanks to the contribution of the sponsors, there will be partial travel support for the participants. The organizing committee will make a selection based on diversity and contribution potential.

This is the list of selected participants:
  1. Reyhan Aydogan - Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  2. Okan Asik - Bogazici University, Turkey
  3. Muhammet Balcilar - Yildiz Technical University, Turkey
  4. Abdelbadia Chaker - University of Sousse, Tunisia
  5. Furkan Cakmak - Yildiz Technical University, Turkey
  6. Velizar Efremov - TU Wien, Austria
  7. Karl Kangur - Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  8. Arman Kavian - Tehran Institute of Technology, Iran
  9. Stefan Kohlbrecher - TU Darmstad, Germany
  10. Pedro Miguel Moreira de Sousa - - Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Portugal
  11. Anil Özen - Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
  12. Alexandre Chacholou Lesinho Pires - Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal
  13. Jhilver Eloy Quispe Barraza - Universidad Nacional de San Agustin, Peru
  14. Sazalinsyah Razali - Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Malaysia
  15. Carmine Recchiuto - University of Genoa, Italy
  16. Joaquim Manuel Costa Alves Duarte Ribeiro - Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal
  17. S.N. Keerthi Sagar - University of Genoa, Italy
  18. Mohammad Hossein Shayesteh - Qazvin Islamic Azad University, Iran
  19. Tomoichi Takahashi - Meijo University, Japan
  20. Sanaz Taleghani - Qazvin Islamic Azad University, Iran
  21. Erkan Uslu - Yildiz Technical University, Turkey
  This is the list of observants:
  • Fatih Amasyali - Yildiz Technical University, Turkey
  • Satoshi Kochiyama - New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan
  • Arie Weeren - MathWorks, The Netherlands
  • Gareth Thomas - MathWorks, United Kingdom
  • Ricardo Tellez - The Construct Sim, Spain
  • Sirma Yavuz - Yildiz Technical University, Turkey

Important dates

  • pre-registration: December 10th, 2015 (extended)
  • participant selection: December 15th, 2015
  • registration: December 31th, 2015
  • workshop: February 28th - March 4th, 2016


The workshop will be organized in the Snellius venue of the Lorentz Center; an international center for workshops in the sciences. The Lorentz Center is located in Leiden, the oldest university city of the Netherlands. The Lorentz Center can be reached in half an hour from Schiphol Airport.


We have selected the Ibis Hotel for the workshop. The hotel is both in walking distance of the venue and inner city. The hotel is next to the train-station, so you don't need a taxi from the airport or the city. By train you could reach most major cities in the Netherlands in less than an hour, so we could consider that to extend your visit to the Netherlands with one or two days and make a daytrip to Amsterdam, Utrecht or The Hague. Reservations have to made by telephone ((+31 71 516 00 02) or email (H8087-re@accor.com) with reference to the discount-code Lore290216. Reservations via website are unfortunately not possible, because there it is not possible to include the discount-code. The reduced rates are € 79,- for a single room and € 97,- for a double room (excluding city tax). Please make this reservation before February 1, otherwise the rooms are no longer exclusively for our workshop.

Hotel to Venue

There are extensive instructions availabe how to reach the Lorentz Center. It is a 30 minute walk to the venue (red route on the map). It is also possible to use busservice 43 or 57. Another alternative is to do it the Dutch way and rent a bicycle.

Travel to the Netherlands

Leiden can be easily reached from Schiphol Airport. Schiphol has an extensive network of direct and indirect connections with airports all over the world. Trains to Leiden Central Train Station (direction Den Haag or Rotterdam) depart every 15 minutes and take about 20 minutes. It is easiest to buy your ticket at the ticket counter in the arrivals hall, not in the machines. A one-way train ticket costs 5-10 euro.
A less obvious alternative could be Rotterdam The Hague Airport with some regional flights (for instance from London). You could reach Leiden by public transport in 60 minutes. The price of the public transport tickets are little less than 10 euro.

Visa to The Netherlands

The procedure to get a visum to The Netherlands is explained on this government page. This are the countries that have to apply for a visum. This is the list of embassies were you can apply for a visum:

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a quite small country with a population of 16.5 million people. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It measures no more than 300 kilometers north to south and 200 kilometers from west to east. The roads are busy, and so are the inland waterways, while there is also a lot of air traffic. The extensive rail network in the Netherlands enables you to get to all the places of interest quickly and easily.


The Netherlands is also referred to as Holland, because of the dominant position of the two western provinces during the birth of the country in the 16th and 17th centuries. At that time the Netherlands was a federation of provinces. Today, the provinces of Holland include the Netherlands' three largest cities: Amsterdam, the capital, The Hague, the seat of government, and Rotterdam, Europe's largest port.

Dutch language

Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands. Although the country has a language of its own, the majority of the population speaks English and often other foreign languages as well, for example German or French.


Leiden is the oldest university city of the Netherlands. It is a compact city with many points of interest within walking distance. It is a lively city with a rich offering of culture. The tulip fields and the beach are in the vicinity (biking range).

The organizing committee

Organizational support by Yvonne Tjalsma.
This workshop is made possible by contributions of a number of companies and organizations: the Lorentz Center, the Intelligent Robotics Lab, the Intelligent Autonomous Systems fund, the Autonomous Intelligent Robots foundation, the Benelux Association for Artificial Intelligence, the RoboCup Federation, The Construct Sim and MathWorks. .


The background image is an artist impresion of NASA's Valkyrie Robot (courtesy NASA's Johnson Space Center).