Registration opens for the 1st ERL Smart Cities Robotics Challenge

The European Robotics League - Smart CIties RObotics Challenge (SciRoc Challenge) is an innovative concept for robotics competitions that aims to show how robots will integrate in the cities of the future.

This novel biennial challenge held in Smart Cities across Europe offers a unique opportunity for consumer, professional and emergency service robots to come together and interact with the smart infrastructure of a familiar urban setting.

The first SciRoc Challenge will take place from 16-22 September 2019 at the Middleton Hall, Centre:MK, in Milton Keynes, UK.

We invite international teams from universities, research labs and robotics companies to demonstrate their technologies and systems in a realistic smart city environment.

 The SciRoc EU-H2020 project consortium has carefully designed a series of episodes where humans and robots interact in a real smart-city shopping mall.


The Episodes

The ERL Smart Cities Robotics challenge is divided into several episodes. An episode places a functionality tested during a specific Functional Benchmarks (FBM) into an operational context. This means that, during an episode, the tested functionality requires the integration with other system components, but limits the efforts for their development (using, for instance, off-the-shelf solutions). Although the goal is to target specifically one functionality (or exceptionally, two), an effort for integrating the main functionality and the other ones might be required in order to complete the episode.



In this episode the robot will assist people in a coffee shop to take care of customers by taking orders and bringing objects to and from customers’ tables.

The main functionality evaluated in this episode is people perception. Additional side functionalities are navigation, speech synthesis and recognition.




The robot must take the elevator crowded with customers to reach a service located in another floor.

The robot should interact with the MK:DataHub to discover which floor it must reach to accomplish its task. The robot must be able to take the elevator together with regular customers of the shopping mall.



The robot is in one the booths of the mall. On the shelf of the booth are the goodies displayed for sale to the customers.

The customers can place orders through a tablet. The robot must move behind the display and collect the requested packages for the customer place them in a box and place the box on a tray where the customer can pick it.



Doors are ubiquitous in human environments. There are many types of doors, some of which are easier to operate than others for a robot.

In this episode the robot will identify a door, approach it and open it completely within a specified tolerance from 90°.



The aerial robot must attend an emergency situation in which a first-aid kit needs to be delivered to a customer.

The robot must be able to fly autonomously to the customer location as fast as possible. The robot might need to detect and avoid possible obstacles on the way, and it must take into account that GPS coverage is not always guaranteed.


 We welcome comments from teams on the Episodes. The first draft of rulebook is available for open discussion.



Applicant teams can pre-register for the first qualification round until the 15th of February 2019 at 23:59 CET.


Call for loan PAL Robotics TIAGo

PAL Robotics, SciRoc Platinum Sponsors, offers the possibility of loaning a TIAGo to make it easier for teams to participate in this new and challenging robotics competition.

Teams showing outstanding expertise and innovative developments will have the chance to receive one of the TIAGo Steel and one of the TIAGo Iron robots for free. The application deadline is Friday 15th February 2019 at 20:00 CET.

Find the full TIAGo loan conditions and application procedure here.

For more information on the European Robotics League and the SciRoc challenge, visit and




Press contact

Marta Palau Franco
University of the West of England, Bristol
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
Social media: @erlrobotleague


Notes for editors


The European Robotics League

The European Robotics League (ERL) is the successor to the RoCKIn, euRathlon and EuRoC robotics competitions, funded by the EU and designed to foster scientific progress and innovation in cognitive systems and robotics. The ERL comprises annual competitions for Consumer, Professional and Emergency Service Robots, and a biennial robotics challenge for Smart Cities. See:



The European Robotics League is run by the SciRoc project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme under grant agreement n° 780086. SciRoc continues to build the ERL; raising interest through public engagement, validating and disseminating new benchmarks, and accelerating development through demonstrating the performance of components and techniques against these benchmarks.  Setting the competitions in a Smart City context drives development towards real societal needs. See:


PAL Robotics

PAL Robotics’ mission is to create service robots that enhance quality of life. We started in 2004 when a small group of engineers built the first fully autonomous humanoid biped robot in Europe. With over 15 years of experience in R&D and service robotics, today we are known for the humanoid robots TALOS, REEM-C and REEM, and innovative solutions for mobile manipulation applications (TIAGo), industrial intralogistics (TIAGo Base) and retail challenges (StockBot). PAL Robotics is Platinum Sponsor of the 1st European Robotics League SciRoc Challenge. See:

Key Dates

17 January - 15 February 2019 - Qualification process
28 February 2019 - Notification to teams
1-31 March 2019 - Registration