Living and Working With Robots

The Living and Working with Robots (LWR) team has come together to build and study robots that will coexist well with people who live and work on campus here in Austin, Texas. We believe forging human-robot communities will improve campus quality of life and productivity, help society at large to flourish, and serve as a proof of concept for new kinds of research collaboration. We envision general purpose, mobile service robots that will navigate across campus and inside buildings, interact with humans, and manipulate objects. People will call on these robots to perform a variety of tasks—for example, picking up a library book—and will, with minimal effort, reprogram them to do new tasks, such as searching for specific objects. The robots will operate individually and in groups, work with people, understand human expressions and intentions, and convey their own intentions, capabilities, and limitations. People will introduce robots to locales new to them (e.g. previously unexplored buildings), and the robots will quickly adapt, demonstrating how they might range further. The LWR team overseeing this progress will create models to explain these human-robot interaction efforts, learning how to more ethically integrate artificial intelligence into society, on campus and beyond.  

A variety of technical and social hurdles lie between the current state of the art and our vision of a world in which robots make our everyday lives easier. The LWR team plans to maximize the impact of this project by successfully addressing these three important questions:  

  1. How do we build this future of autonomous, human-centered robotics?  

  1. What will this future be like for humans?  

  1. How should these systems evolve to benefit society as they are used?  

Our interdisciplinary team spans areas of study that enable it to analyze this deployment from multiple scholarly perspectives, ranging across the technical disciplines, social sciences, and humanities. Together, we will work with diverse stakeholders to study various sites where we can maximize our scientific, technological, and social impact, construct systems that will equitably transform our scientific understanding and our society, and garner additional funding to sustain these efforts. 

Team Members
Elliott Hauser
School of Information
Adam Klivans
Computer Science
Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Samantha Shorey
Communication Studies
Keri Stephens
Communication Studies
Nov. 8, 2021
Three men stand around a robot on wheels in a robotic labs on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
Bringing Robots into the Real World: Q&A with Peter Stone and Elliott Hauser
Computer Science Professor Peter Stone and School of Information Assistant Professor Elliott Hauser share about their new Good Systems project "Living and Working with Robots" and why it's important to design robotic technology in the real world.