IROS 2011: The PR2 Workshop

The PR2 Workshop:
Results, Challenges and Lessons Learned in Advancing Robots with a Common Platform

(At IROS 2011)


In recent years, the use of common software and hardware platforms has played a big role in focusing and advancing the state of the art in areas like legged locomotion (the Littledog program), rough terrain navigation (the LAGR program) and robot soccer (RoboCup). To this end, over the last few years, Willow Garage has been engaged in an effort to build a community around a common software platform (ROS) and a common mobile manipulation platform (the PR2 robot). This full-day workshop is intended to present results, challenges and lessons learnt from this international effort using the PR2 as a common platform for robotics research. The workshop will serve to showcase the impressive research in manipulation, perception, navigation, mapping, HRI, controls and other areas conducted with the PR2 robot. Live demonstrations by the presenters will allow the audience to view cutting edge research in action. The research results and tools presented in this workshop have found wider use in the robotics research community and will be of interest to the entire conference audience. The workshop will conclude with a discussion on the challenges and lessons learned in effective collaboration and sharing for robotics research with a common platform.


The presenters at this workshop will be members of the robotics community who are working with the PR2 robot, either in simulation or on the actual hardware. The physical PR2 robot is currently available to approximately 20 sites around the world, while the simulator for the PR2 robot is based on the open-source Gazebo software and is potentially available to the entire robotics research community.

The only thematic requirement for work to be presented at the workshop is that it must be done on, or highly relevant to, the PR2 platform. Submissions will be reviewed for technical merit and fit with the theme of the workshop. All participants will be encouraged to provide a live demonstration of their work on the PR2 platform.

Important Dates

EXTENDED Friday, August 19th, 2011 - Extended abstract and video submission
Friday, August 26th, 2011 - Notification of acceptance
Friday, September 30th, 2011 - Workshop at IROS

Tentative Schedule

09:00 - 09:05   Introduction by the organizers
09:05 - 09:25   Invited talk: Steve Cousins (Willow Garage)
09:25 - 09:50  
Learning Dimensional Descent planning for a highly-articulated robot arm [pdf | video] (Talk + Demo)
                           - P. Vernaza and D.D. Lee 
09:50 - 10:10  
Making robots cheaper, more capable, and safer [pdf | video] (Talk + Video)
                           - B. Pitzer, S. Osentoski, P. Roan, C. Bersh, J. Becker 
10:10 - 10:30  
What You Think is What You Get: Brain-Controlled Interfacing for the PR2 [pdf | video]  (Talk + Video)
                           - M. Bryan, V. Thomas, G. Nicoll, L. Chang, J.R. Smith and R.P.N. Rao 
10:30 - 10:45   Coffee       
10:45 - 11:05 
“Seashell Effect” Pretouch for Robot Grasping [pdf | video] (Talk + Video)
                           - L.-T. Jiang and J.R. Smith
11:05 - 11:30  
Template-Based Learning of Grasp Selection [pdf | video] (Talk + Demo)
                           - A. Herzog, P. Pastor, M. Kalakrishnan, L. Righetti, T. Asfour and S. Schaal
11:30 - 11:50  
Mobile Manipulation of Kitchen Containers [pdf | video] (Talk + Video)
                           - J. Becker, C. Bersch, D. Pangercic, B. Pitzer, T. Ruhr, B. Sankaran, J. Sturm, C. Stachniss, M. Beetz and W. Burgard
11:50 - 12:15  
Next Best View Estimation With Eye In Hand Camera [pdf | video] (Talk + Demo)
C. Potthast and G. Sukhatme
12:15 - 12:35   Invited talk: Charlie Kemp (Georgia Tech)
12:35 - 14:00   Lunch       
14:05 - 14:25  
Asymptotically-optimal Path Planning for Manipulation using Incremental Sampling-based Algorithms [pdf | video] (Talk + Video)
A. Perez, S. Karaman, E. Frazzoli, S. Teller and M. Walter
14:25 - 14:45   Search-based Manipulation Planning for the PR2 [pdf | video]  (Talk + video)
B. Cohen, M. Phillips, S. Chitta and M. Likhachev
14:45 - 15:10   Towards Navigation in Three-Dimensional Cluttered Environments [pdf | video] (Talk + Demo)
A. Hornung, E.G. Jones, S. Chitta, M. Bennewitz, M. Phillips and M. Likhachev
15:10 - 15:20  
POOP SCOOP: Perception Of Offensive Products and Sensorized Control Of Object Pickup [pdf | video] (Poster spotlight + Demo)
B. Cohen, D. Benamy, A. Cowley, W. McMahan and J. Romano
15:20 - 15:30   Planning and Control Under Uncertainty for the PR2 [pdf | video] (Poster spotlight + Demo)
                           - J. Barry, M. Bollini, A. Holladay, L. Pack Kaelbling and T. Lozano-Perez
15:30 - 15:35   PR2 solving a rubiks cube (Demo)
                           - L. Riano
15:35 - 15:40   BakeBot: Baking Cookies with the PR2 [pdf | video] (Poster spotlight, demo during the poster session)
M. Bollini, J. Barry and D. Rus
15:40 - 15:45  
iTaSC as a unified framework for task specification, control, and coordination, demonstrated on the PR2 [pdf | video] (Spotlight, demo during the poster session)
                           -  D. Vanthienen, T. De Laet, W. Decre, R. Smits, M. Klotzbucher, K. Buys, S. Bellens, L. Gherardi, H. Bruyninckx and J. De Shutter
15:45 - 16:45   Poster and video session (+ Coffee break)
                        Interactive singulation of objects from a pile [pdf | video]
                               - L. Chang, J.R. Smith and D. Fox
                        Duplo Bricks Sorting by PR2 [pdf | video]
                               - M. Gupta and G. Sukhatme
                        Towards Real Robot Service Application that We Can Use Everyday [pdf | video]
                               - K. Okada, M. Saito, H. Chen and M. Inaba
                        PR2: Opening Spring-Loaded Doors [pdf | video]
                               - S. Gray, C. Clingerman, M. Likhachev and S. Chitta
                        Studying Coordinating Behavior in Human-Robot Task Collaborations Using the PR2 [pdf | video]
                               - A. St. Clair and M.J. Mataric
                        Autonomous Skills Buildings and Re-Use of Software in Robotics [pdf | video]
                               - L. Riano and T.M. McGinnity
                       Haptic coupling with the PR2 as a demo of the OROCOS - ROS - Blender integration [pdf | video]
                               - K. Buys, S. Bellens, N. Vanthienen, W. Decre, M. Klotzbucher, T. De Laet, R. Smits, H. Bruyninckx and J. De Schutter
                       Push Planning for Object Placement in Clutter Using the PR2 [pdf | video]
                               - V. Emeli, C. Kemp and M. Stilman
16:45 - 17:30 Discussion

Call For Papers

Submissions should consist of an extended abstract (2 pages) and a video of the PR2 (real or simulated) in action. Work may have been previously published. Accepted authors should be ready to demo (if appropriate) at the workshop. Willow Garage will provide PR2s for the workshop, and time beforehand to make sure the demos run smoothly.

Extended abstracts should use the standard IROS paper submission template (removing the "Abstract" section.) Submissions are not double blind, please include all of the authors' names and institutions.

Videos should be a maximum of 5 minutes long. Please compress videos as much as possible, do not use full HD format.

Submissions should be emailed to pantofaru AT willowgarage DOT com. If the video is too large for email, contact us and we'll find another solution.

Motivation and Objectives

The goal of this workshop is to bring together the growing community of PR2 users, both those with physical PR2 robots and those doing work in simulation, to present technical work, see what others in the community are working on, and form lasting collaborations.  Approximately 20 sites now have a physical PR2, and several more are working with the PR2 in simulation. Technical papers centered around the PR2 have appeared in major conferences such as IROS and ICRA. This workshop will provide a common venue for dissemination of results from the PR2 research community showcasing cutting edge research in multiple areas that will be of interest to a large number of conference attendees.

Willow Garage will supply PR2 robots for the workshop on which participants can demonstrate their work.  We will work with participants beforehand to ensure that the demonstrations run on the provided robots.


William D. Smart

Washington University in St. Louis/Willow Garage


Sachin Chitta

Willow Garage

Caroline Pantofaru                                                                                                              

Willow Garage

Radu B. Rusu

Willow Garage