Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash
Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

7 April 2021

9:30am – 1:30pm (South Korea KST)

10:30am – 2:30pm (Sydney AEST)

The Virtual Symposium on Mobile Robots in Public Space brings together Australian and Korean scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss the real (or possible) deployment of robots in public space. This event builds on our successful workshop held in February 2020 at the University of Sydney. Mobile robots are increasingly being designed for ‘ordinary users’ and deployed in open-environments like parks, airports, shopping centres and restaurants. The introduction of robots that move in public or semi-public space raises many new questions for the fields of social robotics, human-robot interaction, media and communications, geography, and social studies of technology. Such developments require interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and collaborative efforts to understand and respond to the challenges, opportunities and risks that accompany them. In this event, our particular focus revolves around three following themes and questions: 

1. Space

How are spaces and places being imagined in the design of mobile robots? How are spatial conceptions and characteristics of places mediated, challenged or reproduced in the implementation of mobile robots? 

2. Role

What work or jobs are being performed by mobile robots? What is the social role of the robot? In what ways do robots alter the practices or dynamics of work? What other work or workers do they displace, replace or complement? 

3. Interaction 

What are the different types of interaction between mobile robots and users? How are users configured in mobile robot design? What are the types or genres of mobile robots?

The symposium will be led by the Sydney Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, the Department of Media and Communications in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST). The event is supported by the Australia – Korea Foundation. The event will feature a number of invited speakers and will be open for public participation with presentations made available on a project website after the event. 

Confirmed Speakers: 

Dr Naoko Abe, Dr Chris Chesher, Dr Justine Humphry (University of Sydney) & Dr Chihyung Jeon (KAIST)

Ms Heesun Shin (KAIST)

Ms Sheal Eum (AeiROBOT and Hanyang University) 

Dr Michael Richardson (University of NSW) 

Associate Professor Shanti Sumartojo (Monash University) & Professor Dana Kulic (Monash University)

Dr Stewart Worrall (ACFR, University of Sydney)

Program Schedule (Sydney AEST):

10:30am : Welcome 

10:40am – 11:20am: Introduction by Dr Naoko Abe (video), Dr Justine Humphry (video), Dr Chris Chesher (University of Sydney) (video) and Dr Chihyung Jeon (KAIST) (video)

“Mobile robots in Public Space: definitions, questions, approaches and themes”

11:20am – 11:30am : Questions and discussion 


BREAK – 5 minutes 


11:35am – 11:55am: Ms Heesun Shin (KAIST)

“Sharing Body, Space, and Work: Autonomous Mobile Robots for Delivery and Their Coordination with Humans in South Korea”

11:55am – 12:20pm: A/P Shanti Sumartojo & Prof Dana Kulic (Monash University) (video)

“Interdisciplinary perspectives on robots in public space”

12:20pm – 12:30pm: Questions


BREAK – 30 minutes 


1pm – 1:20pm   Dr Michael Richardson (University of NSW) (video)

“Drone Perception and the Bordering of Public Space”

1:20pm – 1:40pm  Ms Sheal Eum (AeiROBOT and Hanyang University) (video)

 “Designing Mobile Robot Behaviors to Create Human Attachment: HRI Experiments by AeiROBOT”

1:40pm – 2:00pm  Dr Stewart Worrall (ACFR) (video)

“Understanding interactions between pedestrians and autonomous vehicles

2:00pm – 2:30pm Questions and discussion (video)

Event organisers: Dr Naoko Abe (University of Sydney), Dr Chihyung Jeon (KAIST), Dr Justine Humphry (University of Sydney) and Dr Chris Chesher (University of Sydney).

This event will be recorded for the purposes of making the presentations publicly available on the website.


Australian Centre for Robotics