Enabling human-robot rescue teams

Autonomous robots performing a joint task send each other continual updates: “I’ve passed through a door and am turning 90 degrees right.” “After advancing 2 feet I’ve encountered a wall. I’m turning 90 degrees right.” “After advancing 4 feet I’ve encountered a wall.” And so on. Computers, of course, have no trouble filing this information away until they need it. But such a barrage of data would drive a human being crazy. At the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence last weekend, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) presented a new way of modeling robot collaboration that reduces the need for communication by 60 percent. They believe that their model could make it easier to design systems that enable humans and…


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