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New Research Could Let Vehicles, Robots Collaborate with Humans

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Human and robot shake hands.

Robotic systems under development will be able to negotiate with people, to determine the best way to achieve their goals.

Credit: gizmag

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are developing robotic systems that can negotiate with people to determine the best way to achieve their goals. "We’re trying to allow people to interact with these increasingly autonomous systems in the same way that they would interact with another human," says MIT professor Brian Williams.

In the future, these systems could be used to control autonomous vehicles. Currently, Williams and researcher Peng Yu are working to create an algorithm to allow conventional vehicles to work with their drivers to plan routes and schedules.

Williams and Yu describe the use of their algorithm in car-sharing networks such as Zipcar. The system, which is equipped with speech-recognition technology, first asks the user what the goal is and how much time there is to achieve it. Then it uses digital maps to develop the most time- and energy-efficient plan. If the system determines that the user cannot achieve the goal in the time available, it analyzes the plan to detect which items on the schedule are problematic.

The algorithm also could be used in robots, to allow them to collaborate with humans more effectively.

From MIT News
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