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Friday, January 11, 2013

Smart robots for passenger transfer

Credit: robonaut, 
Researchers at the Social Robotics Lab, Albert-Ludwigs-Univ. Freiburg expect that next-generation robots will work closely with humans as companions at home, care-takers for the elderly, intelligent cars or as helpers in the service industry. Their tasks require advanced social and cognitive skills to effectively interact and cooperate with humans. We believe that the key to long-term acceptance and utility of robots is their ability to perceive, understand, learn and reproduce human social behavior.

The SPENCER project, co-funded by the EC FP7
Credit: SPECTER, demonstration scenario 
will focus on social situation-aware perception and action for cognitive robots. and break new ground for cognitive systems in populated environments. While there is an increasing focus on making robots more socially aware, related approaches are still limited in their capacity to perceive, model and learn human social behavior and respond with appropriate actions in real-time from mobile platforms. SPENCER will systematically address these problems and advance the fields of perception of individual humans and groups in sensory data, normative human behavior learning and modeling, socially-aware mapping, and socially-aware task, motion and interaction planning under real-world conditions. In particular, by addressing these problems simultaneously in a multidisciplinary project team, we will exploit synergies which will enable us to design safer, more efficient, and more robust cognitive systems in human environments.

The SPENCER consortium includes KLM, a large European airline as end-user that will deploy a robotic demonstrator for smart flow management of transfer passengers at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The task of the robot will consist in picking up delayed transfer passengers from their arrival gate and bringing them to the priority lane of the Schenger barrier, thus  addressing a flow problem for which every day passengers miss their flight.

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