International Workshop on Ontologies for Autonomous Robotics (ROBONTICS 2021) @ FOIS 2021, part of Bolzano Summer of Knowledge (BOSK 2021), Bolzano, Italy

COVID-19 related update

We encourage researchers interested in the fields of robotics and knowledge engineering to submit short (5-6 pages) or long (10-12 pages) research papers by July 9th 2021; accepted papers will be published in a JOWO proceedings volume in 2021.

Researchers with accepted papers will be invited to present at the RobOntics 2021 workshop, which is planned to be a hybrid (online and, if conditions allow, pysical event).


ROBONTICS focuses on the area of robot autonomy enabled by knowledge-driven approaches, and in particular formal ontologies. It aims to foster interaction across robotics, ontology, and knowledge representation and reasoning, to match open problems to promising approaches, and to review progress in knowledge-driven robotics.

Today ontologies are used in robotics and standardization efforts for robotics knowledge management. Many open problems involve autonomous robotic agents operating in natural or human environments, and several research projects in healthcare assistance, logistics, autonomous driving, etc, aim to bring robots into realistic human environments.

One of the difficulties is the large amount of real-world knowledge that an agent needs to have to be able to act competently and autonomously. Further, any item of knowledge is often relevant for many agents and behaviors, and as such should be reusable. To garner trust and enable debugging, knowledge should also be accessible to human operators, both in terms of explaining what knowledge is present in a system, and of providing ways to easily amend it if necessary.


  • Submission deadline: July 9th, 2021
  • Notification: August 10th, 2021
  • Camera ready: August 23rd, 2021
  • Workshop: September 2021, exact date to be announced

LIST OF TOPICS (partial)

Participants are invited to submit original papers for oral presentation, including, but not limited to, topics such as:

  • Foundational issues:
    • are there some ontological approaches better suited than others for autonomous robotics? why?
    • how should we ontologically model notions like capability, action, interaction, context etc. in robotics?
  • Robustness:
    • how can ontologies be used to help robots cope with the variety and relatively fluid structure of human environments?
      • is ontology a scalable tool in robotics applications?
    • what are good benchmarks for robot autonomy?
  • Ontologies in the perception-action loop:
    • what roles can ontology play in autonomous manipulation?
    • how can we help robots autonomously cope with manipulation problems using ontology?
    • how can ontology be used to support machine learning for object classification?
  • Interactivity:
    • how can knowledge about other agents present in the environment be modelled?
    • how should we ontologically model the flow of an interaction, such as a conversation or shared task?
      • how can model-driven methods play a role in human-robot interaction?
    • how can ontology-based reasoning play a role in developing trust in Human-Robot Interaction scenarios?
  • Normed behavior:
    • how should we ontologically represent, and then have a robot act according to, norms on behavior such as cultural expectations?
    • how can these expectations be acquired, and would they be the same for robots as they are for humans?
  • Explainability:
    • decision chains are very complex; how can these be organized and presented at various levels of detail for the benefit of a human user?
    • what, ontologically, is an explanation? what is a good explanation, and how can one be generated from a collection of knowledge items?

WORKSHOP CO-CHAIRS (alphabetical order)

  • Daniel Beßler, Institute for Artificial Intelligence, University of Bremen, Germany
  • Stefano Borgo, Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA), ISTC CNR, Trento, Italy
  • Mohammed Diab, Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  • Aldo Gangemi, University of Bologna and ISTC-CNR, Italy
  • Alberto Olivares-Alarcos, Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC), Barcelona, Spain
  • Mihai Pomarlan, Faculty of Linguistics and Literature, University of Bremen, Germany
  • Robert Porzel, Digital Media Lab, University of Bremen, Germany


Papers presenting initial or ongoing research are welcome; so are position and survey papers delineating robotics problems and/or discussing the suitability of knowlege engineering approaches to solve such problems.

All the contributions to the workshop must be submitted according to the CEUR-Art format available from Submitted papers must have 10-12 pages for long papers, or 5-6 pages for short papers (not including references).

Papers will be refereed and accepted on the basis of their merit, originality, and relevance to the workshop. Each paper will be reviewed by at least two Program Committee members.

Papers must be submitted electronically in PDF, using this link:


Accepted contributions to the workshop will be published in an open access CEUR volume as part of the new IAOA series (see

(Banner image belongs to the Science Museum of London and was uploaded to wikimedia commons under the CC-BY-SA 2.0 license.)