Interest and research activities in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence have experienced significant fluctuations over the past few decades. We are currently in a period of rapid new developments and significant investments, thanks to astonishing advancements in software and hardware for robotics, along with new potential applications (for example, self-driving cars). North America has been at the forefront of this new wave of robotics, with several academic centers in the United States (such as MIT, Stanford, CMU, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, UPenn, Caltech) and in Canada (for example, University of Toronto). Industry has also developed major research centers in robotics, such as Google, Facebook, and NVIDIA. Italy has a number of major robotics centers as well (POLIMI, Sant'Anna, Sapienza, UNIBO, Federico II, UNIGE, UNIPI, IIT), which makes robotics a particularly promising field to strengthen collaborations between Italy and North America.
In recent years, networks have sprung up that bring together organizations, institutes and researchers in robotics. The largest organization is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS), while the I-RIM (Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines) association was recently founded in Italy. At European level, robotics activities are funded by the European Commission's DG-CNECT. ISSNAF has asked two prominent roboticists, Prof. Marco Pavone of Stanford and Prof. Paolo Fiorini of the University of Verona, both ISSNAF members, to share their suggestions for how to foster opportunities for collaborations between the two sides of the Atlantic.