From Smart Cities to Self-driving Cars: Springer Nature's New eBook Collection Looks to the Future
Intelligent systems such as robots, cyber-physical and embedded systems are set to drive substantial technological and societal change over the coming decades. These systems use computational intelligence, data science and communications technologies to work with each other as well as with humans. Emerging from these technologies, the Internet of Things, Smart Cities and Homes, Intelligent Transportation, Humanoids, Smart Farming, Industry 4.0 and Medical Robotics - to name just a few - will be the components of a more sustainable planet, as envisioned by the United Nations.
Launching in 2019, the Springer Nature Intelligent Technologies and Robotics eBook collection will publish established knowledge and cutting-edge research across a variety of formats - from monographs and proceedings to textbooks. Interdisciplinary at its core, the collection will reflect both the overlaps and diversifications of these highly dynamic areas of science and engineering. Springer Handbooks (including the renowned Springer Handbook of Robotics) and textbooks are ideal resources for those seeking a solid overview of the field of intelligent systems today. Monographs and proceedings also offer the very latest findings from labs and conferences focused on this fast-moving field.
Amongst the subjects covered by the new collection are: Computational Intelligence; Robotics; Control; Automation; Intelligent and Autonomous Systems; Big Data/Data Science; and Self-Driving Cars. New and emerging research areas - including The Internet of Things, Cyber-physical Systems and Ambient Intelligence - will also be focal points for the collection as it develops. Notable contributors to this multi-disciplinary offering include: Bruno Siciliano, Oussama Khatib, Peter Corke, Frank Allgöwer, Ken Goldberg, and many more.
Vice President of Applied Sciences at Springer Nature, Dieter Merkle, and Editor of the forthcoming Intelligent Technologies and Robotics collection, Thomas Ditzinger, talk here about developments in the field and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to drive progress. They also discuss which countries are leading the way in intelligent technologies and robotics research, and consider the growth of new engineering ‘sub-fields’.
What was the motivation for developing a new collection distinct from Springer’s Engineering package?
Until quite recently, Intelligent Systems and AI were restricted to the realm of pure research but have since evolved into applied sciences. It’s the application of these subjects that forms the essence of the new collection. The growth of Computational Intelligence and Robotics has seen Maths and Engineering become more integrated and combine with several other disciplines to create an entirely new field, referred to by many today as ‘Intelligent Technologies´. It’s a field of research that is increasing daily in significance, and one that has the potential to significantly change our daily lives and our future.
The Intelligent Technologies & Robotics eBook collection is an interdisciplinary collection built on a strong foundation of Engineering. Some of the titles in the collection (such as the Springer Handbook of Robotics, and Robotics, Vision and Control) already have a large international readership, are highly downloaded, and frequently cited in emerging research. In fact, the Engineering collection is currently the fastest growing at Springer Nature.
The growth of new, niche, and diverse topics originating from the fields of Maths and Engineering has inspired us to make more distinction between our eBook packages. The Engineering collection has grown quickly due to the rate of development and diversification in the field over the past few years,, which is what led to the curation of a new collection focused exclusively on intelligent systems.
“Interdisciplinary applications such as Data Science, Neural Networks, Swarm Intelligence, Systems Science, Control and Automation and Robotics are becoming more prominent features of the international research and industry landscapes, and will be widely covered by our new eBook collection. From the more traditional Engineering base of automation and control, Intelligent Technologies and Robotics have sprung up, grown in scope, and generated the need for a separate collection with a more interdisciplinary bias.” - Thomas Ditzinger
Which countries and research institutions do you consider to be innovators in this field?
Whilst the growth of research in intelligent technologies and robotics has largely been global, universities and companies from the US, Europe, Korea and Japan are currently leading the way. But we’re also seeing some subjects in this domain gaining momentum in more specific locations.
One of the factors that’s helping drive widespread growth of research into robotics and intelligent technologies is the proliferation of university MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which are making education in the field much more accessible than before. But the foundations of robotics and intelligent technologies rest firmly in Engineering, and students must master these fundamentals to gain the knowledge they need to specialise in these newer sciences. Today we’re seeing more Engineering graduates enrolling in Robotics Master’s and PhD programmes, and a significant increase in the availability of these programmes internationally.
We’re also seeing robotics and AI research growing quickly in many emerging markets, specifically China and India. Whilst the US, Japan and Korea still dominate the field, China is widely expected to catch up with the US by 2025 and ultimately overtake it.
What is the difference between Springer Nature's Engineering eBook collection, the Computer Science eBook collection, and the new Intelligent Technologies & Robotics eBook collection?
The new collection will focus solely on intelligent technologies and is much more multi-disciplinary than the Engineering collection it has evolved from. Research into intelligent technologies is developing very quickly and involves a high level of interdisciplinarity and application. The collection will cover a variety of new technologies that have the potential to make a big impact on our planet. It will not only have implications for Engineering and Computer Science, but also for Physics, Medicine and Health, Brain Science and many other fields. Both the Engineering and Computer Science collections cover a lot of theory and algorithms, while the new package covers the applications, technologies and devices (such as robots) that have evolved from these established theories. Springer’s Computer Science collection, for example, includes titles on Artificial Intelligence, while the new collection focuses more closely on Computational Intelligence, otherwise known as applied AI.
How do you see the academic community benefiting from the new collection?
With its interdisciplinary approach, the Intelligent Technologies and Robotics collection will span several book types (with Monographs and Proceedings making up 85% of the collection), and we’re expecting it to appeal to a broad readership, whilst remaining firmly research-oriented.
“We expect to publish 375 titles as part of the new collection in 2019, with significant expansion going into 2020. We’re also going to be focusing on increasing the level of interactive content as part of the collection. The robotics research community is one of the most receptive to video content and the field adapts really well to this format, so we plan to develop a diverse video package over the next few years to complement the collection.” - Thomas Ditzinger
What are some of the highlights we can expect to see in 2019?
They will include the forthcoming major reference work Humanoid Robotics: A Reference. In addition, books such as Big Data for the Greater Good; Industry 4.0: Industrial Revolution of the 21st Century, and Robot Operating System (ROS) also reflect some of the hottest topics in the field today.
The collection will also contain helpful textbooks such as Control Engineering and the second edition of Robotics, winner of the Outstanding Academic Title by CHOICE. These will give the collection real appeal not just to researchers, but also faculty and students. It’s vital that we support not only the international research community, but that we play a role in educating younger students, many of whom will be creating the intelligent systems of tomorrow.
This article was written by Emma Warren-Jones, Director of Edible Content, from an interview with Dieter Merkle and Thomas Ditzinger that took place on Thursday, 13th August 2018.