The research in this area is at the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and has its roots in the early AI research that targeted robots as embodiments of the intelligent agent.
The key scientific challenge, which has received a significant push by the recent devel- opments in sensor technology and robotics, is the ability to deal with manifold represen- tations of knowledge that enable robots to perform complex tasks in a dynamic, unknown environment populated by other (robotic and human) agents. One section of the work aims at analizing perceptual data to create a rich world model, through the interpretation of sensor data and/or data coming from other information sources, including spoken lan- guage understanding. Another section of the research aims at developing various types of inference to support the actions of the robot in the environment, in particular within social contexts and in the interaction with the user. Both perception and action are often addressed in scenarios where multiple agents cooperate both in distributed perception and in task execution.
The research group builds on the experience acquired through robotic competitions in the context of RoboCup, started back in 1998, not only in robot soccer, but also in Res- cue, @Home and @Work competitions. Hence, one characterizing aspect of the research approach is a strong emphasis on the experimental validation of the proposed technical solutions through the implementation of system prototypes and their evaluation through suitable benchmarking methodologies.
The application domains, where the research ideas have been tested and experimen- tally evaluated, include virtual agents and multi-robot systems in soccer, emergency re- sponse robots, surveillance, agriculture and service robots. Specifically, the problem of sensor fusion and situation awareness has been targeted in the framework of maritime surveillance.
Several open-source hardware and software components and data sets are released and listed in our Web site www.diag.uniroma1.it/˜labrococo. They include the design of a small mobile robot MARRtino, the software libraries Petri Net Plans, soccer robot vision applications (GNAO), IMBS, PHIS, PTracking, NICP, IMU-TK, D2CO, Easy-DepthCalibration, and the data sets data sets for maritime surveillance (MarDT), and the spoken language processing chain LU4R (in collaboration with Univ. Tor Vergata) and the data set for spoken command understanding (Huric).
The group has a solid tradition of cooperation with other research groups worldwide, and is very interested in establishing new collaborations and hosting foreign researchers and students.