Requirements for building an ontology for autonomous robots

Behzad Bayat (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Julita Bermejo-Alonso (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Joel Carbonera (Department of Informatics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Tullio Facchinetti (University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy)
Sandro Fiorini (Department of Informatics, Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Paulo Goncalves (Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco, Castelo Branco, and IDMEC, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)
Vitor A.M. Jorge (Department of Informatics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Maki Habib (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The American University in Cairo, New Cairo, Egypt)
Alaa Khamis (University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)
Kamilo Melo (Faculte des Sciences de la Vie, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Bao Nguyen (Defence Research and Development, Ottawa, Canada)
Joanna Isabelle Olszewska (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK)
Liam Paull (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
Edson Prestes (Department of Theoretical Informatics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Veera Ragavan (Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Monash University, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia)
Sajad Saeedi (University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada)
Ricardo Sanz (Autonomous Systems Laboratory, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Mae Seto (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada)
Bruce Spencer (Department of Computer Science, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada)
Amirkhosro Vosughi (Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA)
Howard Li (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 15 August 2016



IEEE Ontologies for Robotics and Automation Working Group were divided into subgroups that were in charge of studying industrial robotics, service robotics and autonomous robotics. This paper aims to present the work in-progress developed by the autonomous robotics (AuR) subgroup. This group aims to extend the core ontology for robotics and automation to represent more specific concepts and axioms that are commonly used in autonomous robots.


For autonomous robots, various concepts for aerial robots, underwater robots and ground robots are described. Components of an autonomous system are defined, such as robotic platforms, actuators, sensors, control, state estimation, path planning, perception and decision-making.


AuR has identified the core concepts and domains needed to create an ontology for autonomous robots.

Practical implications

AuR targets to create a standard ontology to represent the knowledge and reasoning needed to create autonomous systems that comprise robots that can operate in the air, ground and underwater environments. The concepts in the developed ontology will endow a robot with autonomy, that is, endow robots with the ability to perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous explicit human guidance.


Creating a standard for knowledge representation and reasoning in autonomous robotics will have a significant impact on all R&A domains, such as on the knowledge transmission among agents, including autonomous robots and humans. This tends to facilitate the communication among them and also provide reasoning capabilities involving the knowledge of all elements using the ontology. This will result in improved autonomy of autonomous systems. The autonomy will have considerable impact on how robots interact with humans. As a result, the use of robots will further benefit our society. Many tedious tasks that currently can only be performed by humans will be performed by robots, which will further improve the quality of life. To the best of the authors’knowledge, AuR is the first group that adopts a systematic approach to develop ontologies consisting of specific concepts and axioms that are commonly used in autonomous robots.



This work was partly supported by CAPES and CNPq, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) and by FCT, through IDMEC, under LAETA, project UID/EMS/50022/2013.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of their organizations. The reviewers’ comments are greatly appreciated. Our thanks must also go to Francesco Amigoni, Emilio Miguelanez, Craig Schlenoff, Raj Madhavan and other members of the IEEE RAS ontologies for robotics and automation working group: Gaetan Severac, Guilherme Raffo, Julian Angle, Aleksandar Stefanovski, Phillip J Durst and Wendell Gray’s for their contributions to the initial work presented at IEEE IROS.


Bayat, B., Bermejo-Alonso, J., Carbonera, J., Facchinetti, T., Fiorini, S., Goncalves, P., Jorge, V.A.M., Habib, M., Khamis, A., Melo, K., Nguyen, B., Olszewska, J.I., Paull, L., Prestes, E., Ragavan, V., Saeedi, S., Sanz, R., Seto, M., Spencer, B., Vosughi, A. and Li, H. (2016), "Requirements for building an ontology for autonomous robots", Industrial Robot, Vol. 43 No. 5, pp. 469-480.



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