June 2019 OES Beacon

Member Highlights (June 2019)

Contact the Editors if You Have Items of Interest for the Society Control & Robotics in OCEANS Meet in Beijing, China
By Dr. Ferial El-Hawary, IEEE-Life Fellow


Prof. Huafeng Ding, Conf. Co-Chair,
Prof. Yutaka Ishibashi, Plenary and 3 Keynote Speakers: Dr. Ferial El-Hawary, Prof. Toshio Fukuda (IEEE-President Elect 2019) and
Prof. Wei-Hsin Liao, L. to R.

It was my pleasure to accept an invitation to be among the Keynote Speakers and Conference International Advisory Committee for the fifth International IEEE Conference on Control, Automation and Robotics (ICCAR’2019) www.iccar.org held in Beijing, China, April 19–22, 2019. A mega City, as everyone knows, Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation’s political, cultural, and educational center. Beijing is an important world capital and global power city, and one of the world’s leading centers for politics, economy and business, finance, education, culture, innovation and technology, architecture, language, and diplomacy.

The past four IEEE-ICCAR conferences were held in Singapore, Hong Kong, Nagoya, Japan and Auckland, New Zealand. ICCAR is one of the most successful IEEE technically sponsored series. The conference organizers received 300 submissions from 17 countries. From these, the Technical Program Committee selected close to 150 papers based on their originality, innovative relevance, and clarity of presentation, to be included in the IEEE Conference Proceedings and Xplore.

Professor Toshio Fukuda (IEEE President-Elect. 2019).

The goal of the conference organization was to include only the best talented researchers in the various facets of cutting-edge and extremely challenging areas. On the theoretical side, this conference featured papers focusing on intelligent systems engineering, distributed intelligence systems, multi-level systems, intelligent control, multi-robot systems, cooperation and coordination of unmanned vehicle systems, etc. On the application side, it emphasized autonomous systems, industrial robotic systems, multi-robot systems, aerial vehicles, underwater robots and sensor-based control.

In addition to the accepted papers, the technical program included, a plenary address by Professor Yutaka Ishibashi, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan, whose talk was on “Enhanced cooperation among humans and robots with force feedback over networks,” and three keynote speakers: IEEE President-Elect. 2019, Professor Toshio Fukuda, Nagoya University, Japan, whose talk was on “Multi-Scale Robotic System—Maintenance and Enhancement of Artifact and Life” focusing on Medical Nano-Robotics; Professor Wei-Hsin Liao, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, whose talk was on “Robotic Exoskeletons for Motion Assistance and Rehabilitation;” and myself, Former Faculty of Engineering, Dalhousie University, Canada.

The aim of my talk was to introduce underwater vehicles with the title “Advanced Underwater Robotics: Most Uses for Obtaining Processed Useful Big Data.” The numbers and diversity of assets available and the developed expertise in this area continues to grow. This presentation summarized advances and needs in this field.

Some Participants at IEEE-ICCAR’2019.
Some Participants at USTB Campus.

I focused my discussion on the fact that underwater vehicle’s communications have been acknowledged to be much more challenging than similar terrestrial, air, and planetary exploration applications. Achieving reliable high-speed performance for underwater vehicles, such as remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) operating in the water environment, must deal with issues arising from the water’s inherent physical properties. The current rising trends in popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a demand for the underwater counterpart of the Internet of Underwater Things (IoUT) with its applications for Environmental Monitoring, Underwater Explorations, Disaster Prevention, Military, etc., and future data sharing. The grand goal of the IoUT is to create a worldwide network of smart interconnected underwater sensors to accomplish Smart Environment Monitoring and Analytics in Real-time Systems (SEMAR).

Some Participants at USTB Olympic 2008 Gymnasium.

The most significant requirement is determining the accurate location for a deployed autonomous underwater robot. The location methods of mobile robots use multi-sensor data fusion to combine multi-sensor’s information, which is redundant or complementary in the space or time to obtain an appropriate uniform description or the understanding of the target object according to a certain criterion. There are some issues for researchers to consider, for example: The transmission media is the main challenge for IoUT. The 2nd top challenge is the difficulty to recharge sensors deployed underwater. Moreover, the highlight of this Conference was the excellent Young Professionals and Students Program (Noticeable number of Poster Sessions and Best Paper Awards).

Following the conference, we had the opportunity to visit the laboratories of the University of Science and Technology of Beijing (USTB) and shared the Celebration of its 67 years anniversary. The USTB, formerly known as Beijing Steel and Iron Institute before 1988, is a national key university in Beijing, China, en.ustb.edu.cn/ USTB is an institution involving the Chinese Government Scholarship Program and has been accepting the international students since 1954. Also, we toured the 2008 Olympic facilities, which is located on the USTB Campus, and it was a good reminder with the up-coming 2020 Olympics, Tokyo, Japan.

There are at least 70 establishments of higher education in the Chinese capital. Most of the colleges and universities are public or affiliated; only a few are privately established. web.archive.org/web/20100928001512/ www.moe.edu.cn/english/list.htm

I note that the ICCAR conference has attracted several research papers that are within the scope and fields of interest of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society. I hope to see this trend continue and grow. Please accept this as a personal invitation to consider contributing to the ICCAR ‘2020 being organized to be held in Canada.

Dr. Ferial El-Hawary, F. IEEE, F.EIC, F.MTS
IEEE- Board of Directors 2008–2009
IEEE/OES Board Member 2019–2021
Email: F.El-Hawary@ieee.org
Website: www.ferialdal.ca

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