UK's STRAND project aims to program robot security guards and carers
Research focuses on creation of 4D mapping that takes into account the temporal as well as the spatial dimensions of the built environment.
Tuesday 27 August 2013
A British-led consortium is developing new computer software to help the robots of the future navigate through the messy and cluttered environments of working life, working independently for up to 120 days.
Dr Nick Hawes, lecturer in intelligent robotics at the University of Birmingham, is co-ordinating the work. He says that although robots can currently work in “predictable” environments for short periods of times, he wants to push for further developments.
"Recent advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have enabled mobile robots to operate intelligently in predictable environments for limited periods of time," he said.
"Our challenge is to develop robots which can go way beyond this, running reliably in dynamic real-world security and care environments for as long as they're required. This will make these machines truly useful assistants in our workplaces."
The research is focused around creating new programming that is reactive to “spatio-temporal dynamics”. This refers to changes in the environment, including anything from humans moving about an office, to furniture being repositioned.
Even state-of-the-art robots can interpret such changes as anomalous, but the £7.2m STRANDS project (it stands for spatio-temporal representations and activities for cognitive control in long-term scenarios) hope to make leaps forward in “long-term mapping”, “life-long learning about objects” and “human activity recognition”.
Such mapping has been dubbed 4D as it takes into account not only the three spatial dimensions, but also the dimension of time. Dr Tom Duckett, director of the Lincoln centre for autonomous systems research and a professor of computer science at Lincoln University, will lead the research in this area:
"In a security scenario a robot will be required to perform regular patrols and continually inspect its surroundings for variations from its normal experiences. Certain changes such as finding a person in a restricted area may indicate a security violation or a burglary,” says Dr Duckett.
"In a care home a robot will be required to act as an assistant for elderly patients, fetching and carrying things while also being alert to incidents such as people falling over."
These future applications have not gone unnoticed by companies in the relevant industries, and participating institutions in the project include the UK-based G4S and the Austrian Academy of Ageing Research.
Additional reporting by Richard Vernalls
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Virus to kill 67,000 in Monrovia by December, claims academic study
Ebola: NYC doctor Craig Spencer tests positive for disease after returning from west Africa
Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
What do the text messages between you and your partner reveal about your relationship?
Controversy over Queen Elizabeth II's 'first tweet'
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.N...