Autonomous robots, shaped like robotic dogs, may soon be prowling among the next generation of leaders and scholars at the University of Texas at Austin, the university recently reported.
Unlike the commercial delivery services that most robots perform, UT researchers hope to better understand how the machines navigate with ordinary humans walking among them.
A new grant awarded to a team of researchers from the university will support the project. A five-year study will focus on what it takes to safely create, operate and maintain this type of robot that also adapts to the humans who live and work around it.
The team hopes that over time they will learn how high-end robotic autonomy can exist in a real-life community.
“Robotic systems are becoming more ubiquitous,” UT Professor Luis Sentis told UT News. “In addition to programming robots to perform a realistic task such as delivering supplies, we will be able to gather observations to help develop standards of safety, communication and behavior to enable these future systems to be useful and safe. in our community.”
Researchers seek to gain insight by observing and interviewing pedestrians who encounter robots in various situations. The research will help designers understand how robots intended for the public should be designed and how and where they should move in a community setting.
The $3.6 million National Science Foundation grant will extend to a previous Sex Year project, Living and Working with Robots, which began in September 2021.