What is the IROS 2018 Mobile Manipulation Hackathon? 

The challenge

Mobile manipulation is gaining traction in recent years, with potential applications in diverse areas including manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare. These applications typically require complex manipulation tasks in both structured and unstructured environments, possibly in cooperation or close interaction with humans. Different fields are involved: perception, navigation, task and path planning, control, error recovery, and human-robot interaction. Each field is an area of research on its own, but the special challenge in mobile manipulation is to obtain an integrated system that can combine a large variety of hardware and software components to increase the range of tasks that the robot can perform. With this hackathon, the researchers from these different fields will have an opportunity to integrate their contributions into a mobile manipulation system, and to perform a live demonstration at IROS 2018.

Mobile robots are now commercial products. For instance, PAL Robotics offers TIAGo ( http://tiago.pal-robotics.com/ ), a mobile robot platform endowed with a 7 DoF arm, a liftable torso and a pan-tilt head that will be made available during IROS for showcasing innovative and robust applications of mobile robotics.

To sum up, the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon is an opportunity to showcase your abilities in mobile manipulation tasks at IROS 2018.

Winners of the IROS 2018 MMH

The IROS 2018 Mobile Manipulation Hackathon Winners are:

  • Robotics.SG (Team Nanyang (NTU), Panasonic R&D Centre Singapore, Hand Plus Robotics, and Panasonic Connected Solutions Company)
  • TAMS (Hamburg University)

Congratulations to both teams for the shared first position, and many thanks to all teams for participating!

IROS 2018 MMH Gallery

Finalist Teams

We would like to congratulate the selected teams to get to the final step of the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon:

  • Homer Team (Koblenz University)
  • Robotics.SG (Team Nanyang (NTU), Panasonic R&D Centre Singapore, Hand Plus Robotics, and Panasonic Connected Solutions Company)
  • PMM Tohoku (Tohoku University)
  • TAMS (Hamburg University)

Stay tuned to their achievements during the competition!

How to participate

Step 1 – Expression of Interest

The first step to participate is to submit an Expression of Interest which consists of a document (Maximum 1 page long)  explaining which kind of tasks would you like to do with TIAGo during the hackathon and what you would like to demo at IROS 2018. The organizers will also provide feedback on how to create a high impact demo. The Expression of Interest should contain the name and composition of the team and the captain (contact person) of the team, the background on similar topics, a storyline of the demo and also  planned equipments, types of parts, additional hardware or sensor to be used by the team if needed. Send us your Expression of Interest at the following email: mobile-manipulation-hackathon-organizers@googlegroups.com

Step 2 – Entry Submission

The second step is submitting an application that will be evaluated by the advisory committee who will inform you about your qualification for the MMH at IROS 2018. This should consist of a document (max. 5 pages) supported by videos, simulations and/or technical documents explaining the use case / approach/ technology used.

Step 3 – IROS 2018 competition

The last step is the competition for the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon during IROS 2018. This will be the opportunity to show the progress made by the teams in a real environment and the Advisory commitee will evaluate the demos performed during IROS 2018. The scientific and technical quality, potential utility and impact of results, the robustness of demonstrations and the work done will be factors that will be taken strongly in consideration when evaluating the demos.

Timeline and selection process

Rules and Scoring System

1. Initial, classificatory phase:

Competition is open to any Academic, Research or Industrial Organization interested in mobile manipulation.

Participants will profit from the 100% ROS based control of TIAGo to develop, in the commodity of their labs, an initial proposal of demonstration, which should necessarily and effectively use the potential of a mobile robot (e.g. the proposed demonstration cannot be solved with a fixed-base manipulator only). Participants can exploit the TIAGo ROS tutorials and demonstrations already available publicly at:
A video of this initial demonstration will be submitted for evaluation of entry into the Hackathon main event at the IROS conference. Six teams will be selected from this initial phase to compete in the central event in Madrid.

2. Hackathon @IROS in Madrid

Selected teams will have the possibility of working in the PAL Robotics headquarters in Barcelona for a maximum period of one week, prior to the IROS competition, to implement and test their demonstration. Transfer from simulation to the real hardware will be supported by PAL to guarantee the success of the implementation. PAL Robotics’ suggestion for the hackathon is to run the software on a laptop, which can be connected to the robot reducing the integration time.

These implementations will be then showcased at IROS during two Hackathon days.

Demonstrations are not only restricted to software applications or use-case demonstrations. Enhancement of the PAL robot capabilities through novel sensors or hardware are also supported and encouraged. Final evaluation will be carried out by a team of three internationally recognized experts, considering the following aspects:

Scientific and technical quality (0-5 points)
Robustness of demonstration (0-5 points)
Potential utility/impact of results (0-5 points)

The platform

TIAGo is a ROS-based mobile manipulator robot developed by PAL Robotics with the goal of assisting people in diverse contexts. TIAGo stands for “Take It And Go!”, which summarizes the robot’s skills: navigation, perception and manipulation.

The service robot combines a robust autonomous navigation with perception and manipulation to smartly interact with the environment. TIAGo is provided with Human Robot Interaction skills that go from face and object recognition to the capability of speech, with several languages integrated.

Its open source software and modular hardware architecture make TIAGo highly customizable and adaptable to different purposes. Extra sensors, devices, tools and interchangeable end-effectors can be easily integrated to the robot and connected via its expansion pannel.

This platform is currently used by multiple teams in competitions such as RoboCup and European Robotics League, and stands as one of the most used robots for research in universities and innovation centers all over the world.

TIAGo Site

What do you get as a finalist?

Free use of a TIAGo platform during IROS 2018

PAL Robotics will make available up to 2 TIAGo robots for the finalists during the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon demos at IROS 2018. Besides the platform, engineers from PAL Robotics will assist the teams to help them integrate the demos on site. Get the opportunity to use this platform and apply your developments in mobile manipulation!

One week intensive training and integration in Barcelona

PAL Robotics will offer the finalists up to one week of training, integration, and testing of their solution on the TIAGo robots available at PAL Robotics’ offices in sunny Barcelona. Once the finalists are selected, PAL Robotics will get in touch for hosting the training at their offices, ideally one week before IROS 2018.

The teams participating will receive support for integrating different hardware and software elements needed for their demos. PAL Robotics will be providing the TIAGo platforms also during this week for up to 4 team members per team. Just make sure you bring any additional hardware you might need.

Work with PAL Robotics’ team during one week before IROS to have everything ready to go for the demonstrations!

Free entrance to IROS for students

IROS 2018 will take place from 1st to 5th of October and is hosted by Madrid, one of the sunniest and most lively cities in Europe. The IEEE/RSJ IROS 2018 organization is kind enough to provide free entrances to the exhibitions and the competitions to the students from the finalist teams that participate in the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon. This will make sure you will have the chance to visit the exhibition when you are not working on your demonstration!

Cash Prizes

Two entities will sponsor cash prizes for the winning teams of the hackathon: Ocado and Robotics at Leeds will each contribute with £500 that will be awarded to the top 2 teams.

More to be announced

Stay tuned for more prizes or advantages as some have yet to be announced!


1. Technical committee of Mobile Manipulation
Co-chairs of the technical Committee:
Maximo A. Roa, German Aerospace Center – DLR
Mehmet Dogar. University of Leeds
Nikolaus Correll, University of Colorado at Boulder

2. PAL Robotics:
Francesco Ferro,
Carlos Vivas,
Jordi Pages,
C/ Pujades 77-79, 4-4
08005 Barcelona, Spain

3. Local Committee
Antonio Morales
Universidad Jaume I
Castellon, SPAIN

PAL Robotics 

German Aerospace Center – DLR

University of Leeds

University of Colorado

Universidad Jaume I Castellón


If you have any doubts or questions, please contact the organization via the following email and we will be happy to answer your questions!