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RoboCom++ Project

Rethinking Robotics for the Robot Companion of the future

RoboCom++ will gather the community and organise the knowledge necessary to rethink the design principles and fabrication technologies of future robots. RoboCom++ will aim at developing the cooperative robots (or Companion Robots) of the year 2030, by fostering a deeply multidisciplinary, transnational and federated effort.

RoboCom++ will pursue a radically new design paradigm, grounded in the scientific studies of intelligence in nature. Simplification mechanisms will be based on the concepts of embodied intelligence, morphological computation, simplexity, and evolutionary and developmental approaches.

RoboCom++ is coordinated by Paolo Dario, Director of The BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa, Italy) and involves 24 partners (13 funded from 9 Countries – 7 EU and 2 Associated; 11 in-kind from additional 8 Countries – 7 EU and 1 Associated). RoboCom++ spans a multitude of disciplines such as robotics, systems neuroscience, social neuroscience, psychology, material and energy science, computer science, human and social sciences, ethics, law, and industrial design.

Three main lines of action

1. Building the Community

  • Building an interdisciplinary community of outstanding, highly motivated and committed experts and organisations.

    A coordination of efforts and the construction of an interdisciplinary community by means of structured large-scale cooperation at the European level will be carried out. By taking advantage of the experience and outcomes of the CA-RoboCom Project (, its community and its scientific and technical heritage, RoboCom++ will go beyond and will involve a wider community of roboticists and non-roboticists (including material scientists, mathematicians, AI experts, biologists, physicists, neuroscientists, economists, sociologists, philosophers and others)..

2. Targeting Exploratory Pilots

  • Proof-of-concept research pilots

    In order to ground the discussion, the core scientific issues of the future Robot Companions will be addressed by a few initial scouting pilot studies carried out by the Project partners. Research on emerging disruptive ideas will be stimulated and carried out in the RoboCom++ Project, to the level of proof-of-concept to be applicable in the further definition of the FET-Flagship, by means of a few additional exploratory studies. The objectives of these Flagship Core Projects-like actions will be to investigate and assess new discoveries and technologies relevant to RoboCom++ and that could be developed at a much larger extent during the envisioned future FET-Flagship. The scouting pilots will address the following key topics:

    - Computational Foundations of Actions;
    - Morphological Computation and Soft Robotics;
    - Soft Technologies for Wearable and Mobile Robots;
    - Bio-Inspired Self-Healing Materials;
    - Biomimetic Cognitive Architecture for Human-Robot interaction.

3. Defining S&T roadmap

  • Defining the long-term S&T roadmap, competitiveness strategy, governing and financing structure, and the ethical, legal, economic and social framework of a future FET Flagship–like initiative on Robotics

    Through the implementation of the above described activities RoboCom++ will pave the way to an envisaged FET-Flagship on Robotics. Specifically, RoboCom++ will test and validate the viability of a model for the future FET-Flagship comprising such actions as the involvement of a large interdisciplinary and multi-national community, focused research projects, fund raising, social and industrial impact and efficient management. RoboCom++ will also focus on dissemination, education and outreach to and involvement of EU citizens, with special attention to young people and schools, and to elderly users. A large number of stakeholders (from science and technology, society, finance, politics, industry and other relevant communities) will be actively involved aiming at community and consensus building at European and international level. Particular attention will be paid to ethical issues raised by the pervasive use of Robot Companions

Key Details


Acronym: RoboCom++
Project full title: Rethinking Robotics for the Robot Companion of the future
Main area: Cooperative Robots
Keywords:  Robotics, Soft Robotics, Bioinspired Robotics, Morphological Computation, Cognitive Robotics, Intelligent Materials, Ethical, Legal, Economic and Social Aspects
Coordinator: Paolo Dario, The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
Partners: See consortium here
Call identifier: FLAG-ERA Joint Transnational Call (JTC) 2016
Duration:  36 Months
Start: March 1, 2017
End:  February 28, 2020
Budget: 4.216.718,90 €
EU Funding: 2.825.012,05 €