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Spring 2018 GRASP Seminar Series: Ross Knepper, Cornell University, “Communicative Actions in Human-Robot Teams”

January 26, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Robots out in the world today work for people but not with people.  Before robots can work closely with ordinary people as part of a human-robot team in a home or office setting, robots need the ability to think and act more like people. When people act jointly as part of a team, they engage in collaborative planning, which involves forming a consensus through an exchange of information about goals, capabilities, and partial plans.  In this talk, I describe a framework for robots to understand and generate messages broadly — not only through natural language but also by functional actions that carry meaning through the context in which they occur. Careful action selection allows robots to clearly and concisely communicate meaning with human partners in a manner that almost resembles telepathy.  I show examples of how this implicit communication can facilitate activities as basic as hallway navigation and as sophisticated as collaborative tool use in assembly tasks.  I also show how these abilities can assist in recovery after a failure.


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Ross A. Knepper is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University since 2014. His research focuses on the theory and algorithms of human-robot interaction in collaborative work. He builds systems to perform complex tasks where partnering a human and robot together is advantageous for both, such as factory assembly or home chores. Ross has built robot systems that can assemble Ikea furniture, ask for help when something goes wrong, and interpret informal speech and gesture commands. Before Cornell, Ross was a Research Scientist at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011.


January 26, 2018
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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