Call for Participants

Are you interested in designing robots with ethics in mind?

We are calling all roboticists, philosophers, designers, and engineers!

Join the 2022 ICRA Roboethics Competition to contribute to the frontier of robot ethics research and for a chance to win cash prizes!

You don’t need to be a roboticist/programmer or travel to ICRA 2022 to participate.

Why is this important?

Robot ethics poses some of the greatest challenges in interactive robot designs. In many cases, humans navigate ethical and social situations with ease, whereas it may be much more difficult for a robot. For example, if a child asks a robot to fetch his/her parent's credit card, what should the robot be programmed to do? This competition will challenge you to think about ethics as concrete design considerations that can be implemented as interactive robot behaviours.

What you'll do as a participant (or participating team):

Participating teams can choose to participate in one or both (proposal & hackathon) components of the competition.

  • Design Proposals (Online submission): Before ICRA 2022: participants will be presented with a scenario involving a robot that must be programmed to interact with people around it while considering possible ethical challenges. Participants will be asked to submit a design proposal (no code/programming needed) outlining how a robot should be programmed to behave and what design implications they've considered. The goal of the proposal is to convince a technical audience to implement the proposed ideas during ICRA. Details of the Ethics Challenge to be tackled are available here.

  • Implementation Hackathon (hybrid): Anyone with programming skills is invited to choose from the submitted design proposals and create a software implementation of one of the proposals. The hackathon will take place on May 25th with the goal of delivering a prototype. Details of the hackathon are available here.


  • April 13th: Competition scenario launched

  • April 20th: Competition Webinar (check out the webinar recording here)

  • May 16th: Design proposal submissions due

  • May 25th: Hackathon day (code submissions due end of day)

  • May 27th: Competition awards ceremony & panel discussion

How we will communicate

  • Once you've signed up with your interest to participate, we will keep you posted via email as well as our competition website.

  • Our webinar recording (with audience Q&A) is now available.

  • For any questions, please contact us at

Call for Hackathon Coders

The Hackathon will take place May 25th, 2022, 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM EST in-person at ICRA (Pennsylvania Convention Center) and online. The context for the hackathon is available on our website already so that you can be better prepared. Software libraries/competition API will be released at the start of the Hackathon day. Processing is the environment we will be using to evaluate your submissions, which should allow you to program in Java, Python,

Minimum criteria for valid submission

  • The submitted code should run in the Processing environment.

  • The submitted prototype should demonstrate a minimum of 10 valid object retrieval requests in order to be considered a complete and valid submission.

  • A README file or a short description should be included in the submission with at least the following information:

    • Participant name, affiliation, and contact information for acknowledgment purposes

    • Acknowledge the Design Proposal submission that has been chosen to be implemented

    • Instructions for running the code or using the demo (especially any particular features implemented in the code that require special instructions)

How the submissions will be evaluated

  • All valid submissions will be evaluated based on their generalizability (30%), correspondence (30%), ingenuity (30%), and demo quality (10%). A more detailed description of what each of the criteria means is outlined here.


  • Free giveaways! We have free Arduino boards to give out to in-person participants who meet the minimum submission criteria (quantity limited).

  • For each Design Proposal available for coders to implement, a cash prize of $250 CAD (approx. 200 USD) will be awarded. (i.e., if there are three Design Proposals, there will be three $250 CAD cash prizes awarded).

Registration & Participation

  • We have free in-person ICRA (competition-only) registration passes available.

    • To give us a better idea of the number of coders interested in participating in our event, please fill out this form. If you'd like to participate in-person, please indicate it in the registration form and we will send you the instructions to register for free entrance to the ICRA conference.

  • You can participate as an individual or as a team, online and in-person.

  • You can produce multiple submissions to increase your chances of winning.

Call for Design Proposal Participants

How the submissions will be evaluated

  • The Design Proposal submissions will be scored on generalizability, creativity and effectiveness of the proposed solution.


  • One cash prize of $1300 CAD (approx. $1000 USD)

  • More prizes to be announced


  • If you are interested in participating please fill out the expression of interest form. You don’t need to work as a team or have a fully formed team to join the competition. If you wish to form a team with other interested participants, we will help you find each other.

  • We have a few competition-only ICRA registration passes for participants planning to join us in person. Please write to us at for more information.