Ken Goldberg and Pieter Abbeel awarded $1.3M NSF National Robotics Initiative Award
August 21, 2017

IEOR professors Ken Goldberg and Pieter Abbeel, and UC Berkeley professors Anca Dragan and Stuart Russell, have been awarded the NSF National Robotics Initiative Award for their research in scalable collaborative human-robot learning. 

Their project will be funded at $1,374,893 over the course of three years for research in scalable robot manipulation through human immitation. 

The scalable collaborative human-robot learning project be useful in warehouses, homes, and other environments from schools to retail stores, robots will need to learn how to robustly manipulate a wide variety of objects.  For instance, to enhance the productivity of human workers, service and factory robots could keep specified surfaces clear by identifying, grasping, and relocating objects to appropriate locations.  Pre-programming robots to perform such complex manipulation tasks is not feasible;  instead this project will investigate scalable robot manipulation, where multiple robots collaboratively learn from multiple humans.  The project will contribute new models, algorithms, software, and experimental data to advance the state-of-the-art in deep learning, human–robot interaction, and cloud robotics.  To broadly convey the results of this research to students and the public, the project will create a book and video with the Lawrence Hall of Science and the African Robotics Network.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), founded in 1950 "to promote the progress of science" is an independent gederal agency. The NSF is a major source of federal backing for approximately 24% of all federally supported research conducted in America's higher education system and is vital in the advocation of scientific research.