Kavraki, Vardi receive NSF grant for human-robot collaboration

BY CINTIA LISTENBEE
Special to the Rice News

Rice scientists have been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to develop a novel framework for collaboration between humans and robots.

Lydia Kavraki and Moshe Vardi

Lydia Kavraki and Moshe Vardi have received a three-year grant to fund their research to formally model scenarios in which robots and humans can play varying roles.

Lydia Kavraki, the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and professor of bioengineering, and Moshe Vardi, the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering and director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, have received a three-year grant to fund their research to formally model scenarios in which robots and humans can play varying roles.

The proposal, titled “Robotic Collaboration through Scalable Reactive Synthesis,” focuses on developing scalable methodologies to help robots adapt to human behavior without changes to underlying software or hardware. The National Robotics Initiative funded the proposal.

Kavraki and Vardi will use scenarios drawn from assembly tasks to mimic manufacturing settings in which robots and humans work together. The actions of robots can improve the quality and safety of the humans at work. The project is a critical step towards making robots collaborate with humans, while permitting humans to remain in control.

The NSF has awarded five new grants to the Computer Science department since June 1. The grants will provide $4 million in research funding for the next four years.

— Cintia Listenbee is a communications and marketing specialist in Computer Science.

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