A man and a robot arm working together
Jonathan and our KUKA Iiwa robot arm

Welcome to Week 3

This week, we’ll learn how robots can cooperate to solve complex problems in a way that is robust in the face of technical and environmental adversity.

Teamwork has been a hallmark of human endeavor since the pre-historic period. Communication has enabled the sharing of knowledge and has allowed us to pass this knowledge on from generation to generation. Communication has also enabled cooperation and the creation of societies where members specialise and provide a more efficient service to their communities and to society in general.

We’ll start by exploring and demonstrating some examples of cooperation between robots, and more importantly, cooperation between humans and robots. We’ll visit The Royal Hallamshire Hospital here in Sheffield to witness a robot-assisted surgery and we’ll examine the future for more advanced medical robots.

We’ll discover how principles of cooperative games, where robots receive rewards for contributing to the team’s success, can be applied to robots to make them naturally cooperative.

We’ll illustrate how relatively simple algorithms can be applied to make a swarm of robots complete tasks collectively and examine the possibilities of robotic assistance for factory workers, where sufficient force is needed for robot arms to be useful in practice but safety is paramount.

Our teamwork topic will be concluded by outlining the many opportunities for multi-robot systems in police work, search and rescue, agriculture, infrastructure projects and deep water exploration.

We’ll finish the week, and the course, by asking our experts for their informed opinions on a responsible approach to both robot development and robot use for the future.

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This article is from the free online course:

Building a Future with Robots

The University of Sheffield

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