Open Source Robotics Foundation
Carnegie Mellon University
Historically, robots have been engineered as heavy industrial machinery for repetitive tasks such as welding, painting, and machining. These industrial robots are not typically designed for human interaction and can only be operated by a trained specialist in a controlled factory environment. However, recent advancements in robotics technology have enabled safer interaction with humans and allowed robots to enter our workplaces, hospitals, and homes. This new generation of medical and service robots assist and cooperate with humans in a broad range of “co-robotics” tasks, from teleoperated minimally invasive surgery to inventory handling and household cleaning. Advancements in robot control and automation have also led to self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other autonomous vehicles technologies that have the potential to revolutionize transportation, space exploration, and natural disaster relief. As these nontraditional applications of robotics continue to grow, further advancements will increasingly focus on fundamental challenges that are unique to co-robotics. These include progress in not only robotics technology but also the social, behavioral, and economic aspects of human-robot interaction.
This session began with a talk by Chris Urmson, who leads Google’s program for self-driving cars, which have driven more than 700,000 miles on public roads. Next, Matthew Williamson (Rethink Robotics) presented a comprehensive overview of the hardware and software required to build a robot that can safely interact with humans and be trained to perform repetitive tasks in a manufacturing environment. The third speaker, Allison Okamura (Stanford University) described
her work on the next generation of minimally invasive surgical robotics, which can be designed, manufactured, and controlled spontaneously for a specific patient and procedure. The final presentation, by Dennis Hong (University of California, Los Angeles), was about biologically inspired mobile robots.1
1 Paper not included in this volume.