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The Pransky interview: Gianmarco Veruggio, Director of Research, CNR-IEIIT, Genoa Branch; Robotics Pioneer and Inventor

Joanne Pransky (Independent Robotics Consultant, San Francisco, California, USA)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 16 January 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The following paper is a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal experience of a prominent, robotic industry engineer-turned successful innovator and leader, regarding the challenges of bringing technological discoveries to fruition. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The interviewee is Gianmarco Veruggio who is responsible for the Operational Unit of Genoa of the Italian National Research Council Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering (CNR-IEIIT). Veruggio is an early pioneer of telerobotics in extreme environments. Veruggio founded the new applicative field of Roboethics. In this interview, Veruggio shares some of his 30-year robotic journey along with his thoughts and concerns on robotics and society.

Findings

Gianmarco Veruggio received a master’s degree in electronic engineering, computer science, control and automation from Genoa University in 1980. From 1980 to 1983 he worked in the Automation Division of Ansaldo as a Designer of fault-tolerant multiprocessor architectures for fail-safe control systems and was part of the development team for the new automation of the Italian Railway Stations. In 1984, he joined the CNR-Institute of Naval Automation (IAN) in Genoa as a Research Scientist. There, he worked on real-time computer graphics for simulation, control techniques and naval and marine data-collection systems. In 1989, he founded the CNR-IAN Robotics Department (Robotlab), which he headed until 2003, to develop missions on experimental robotics in extreme environments. His approach utilized working prototypes in a virtual lab environment and focused on robot mission control, real-time human-machine interfaces, networked control system architectures for tele-robotics and Internet Robotics. In 2000, he founded the association “Scuola di Robotica” (School of Robotics) to promote this new science among young people and society at large by means of educational robotics. He joined the CNR-IEIIT in 2007 to continue his research in robotics and to also develop studies on the philosophical, social and ethical implications of Robotics.

Originality/value

Veruggio led the first Italian underwater robotics campaigns in Antarctica during the Italian expeditions in 1993, 1997 and 2001, and in the Arctic during 2002. During the 2001-2002 Antarctic expedition, he carried out the E-Robot Project, the first experiment of internet robotics via satellite in the Antarctica. In 2002, he designed and developed the Project E-Robot2, the first experiment of worldwide internet robotics ever carried out in the Arctic. During these projects, he organized a series of “live-science” sessions in collaboration with students and teachers of Italian schools. Beginning with his new “School of Robotics”, Veruggio continued to disseminate and educate young people on the complex relationship between robotics and society. This led him to coin the term and propose the concept of Roboethics in 2002, and he has since made worldwide efforts at dedicating resources to the development of this new field. He was the General Chair of the “First International Symposium on Roboethics” in 2004 and of the “EURON Roboethics Atelier” in 2006 that produced the Roboethics Roadmap. Veruggio is the author of more than 150 scientific publications. In 2006, he was presented with the Ligurian Region Award for Innovation, and in 2009, for his merits in the field of science and society, he was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, one of Italy’s highest civilian honors.

Keywords

Citation

Pransky, J. (2017), "The Pransky interview: Gianmarco Veruggio, Director of Research, CNR-IEIIT, Genoa Branch; Robotics Pioneer and Inventor", Industrial Robot, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 6-10. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-10-2016-0271

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited