Applications closed

PyRobot: Democratizing Robotics request for proposals


One of Facebook AI Research’s long term goals is to work together with the AI research community to advance AI and build intelligent agents. These agents need to model and understand the physical world they live in. We believe robots can play a critical role in exploring, modeling, and learning about the physical world. In recent years, we have seen significant advancements in both robotic hardware and accompanying algorithms. However, due to expensive hardware and the lack of research ecosystem and platforms, it has been extremely challenging (a) for non-robotics researchers to demonstrate application of ideas on robotics problems, (b) to benchmark and evaluate performance of robotics algorithms, and (c) to quickly identify, disseminate, and improve upon ideas that work well. In order to democratize robotics research, Facebook AI Research, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, has introduced an open-source research platform: PyRobot.

PyRobot is a light-weight, high-level interface on top of ROS that provides a consistent set of hardware independent mid-level APIs to control different robots. PyRobot abstracts away details about low-level controllers and inter-process communication, and allows non-robotics researchers (ML, CV researchers) to focus on building high-level AI applications. PyRobot aims to provide a research ecosystem with convenient access to robotics datasets, algorithm implementations, and models that can be used to quickly create a state-of-the-art baseline.

To promote the first use of the library and faster adaptation, we are pleased to accept proposals focused on using PyRobot with the recently introduced low-cost hardware LoCoBot. The proposals should focus on how the applicants plan to use PyRobot and demonstrate new tasks, help the robotics research community by implementing benchmark algorithms. Applicants from the academic community are invited to submit a maximum one-page proposal outlining their intended use of the LoCoBot and PyRobot library, and estimated timeline.

Applications Are Currently CLosed

Application Timeline

Notifications will be sent by email to selected applicants by September 30, 2019.

Launch Date

June 14, 2019


August 30, 2019

Winners Announced

September 30, 2019

Areas of Interest

Awards will include parts for the 1-3 LocoBot robots shipped to the PI shipping address. Up to thirty projects will be awarded. Proposals should focus on use of PyRobot with LocoBot or any other robotics platform. Topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Creative use and demonstration of PyRobot or LocoBot
  • Implementation and open-sourcing existing algorithms
  • Building datasets using PyRobot
  • Adding support for more hardware platforms in PyRobot
  • Use of PyRobot for Education


Proposals should include

  • A summary of the project (1/2 to 1 page).
  • Curriculum Vitae for all project participants.
  • Organization details; including shipping address to where the LoCoBot parts will be dispatched.


  • Awards must comply with applicable US and international laws, regulations and policies.
  • Applicants must be current full-time faculty or graduate student at an accredited academic institution that awards research degrees to PhD students.

Additional Information

For questions related to this RFP, please email

Terms & Conditions

  • By submitting a proposal, you are authorizing Facebook to evaluate the proposal for a potential award, and you agree to the terms herein.
  • You agree that Facebook will not be required to treat any part of the proposal as confidential or protected by copyright.
  • You agree and acknowledge that personal data submitted with the proposal, including name, mailing address, phone number, and email address of you and other named researchers in the proposal may be collected, processed, stored and otherwise used by Facebook for the purposes of administering the website and evaluating the contents of the proposal.
  • You acknowledge that neither party is obligated to enter into any business transaction as a result of the proposal submission, Facebook is under no obligation to review or consider the proposal, and neither party acquires any intellectual property rights as a result of submitting the proposal.
  • Any feedback you provide to Facebook in the proposal regarding its products or services will not be treated as confidential or protected by copyright, and Facebook is free to use such feedback on an unrestricted basis with no compensation to you.