UC San Diego Announces Contextual Robotics Institute

Published by , November 2, 2015 11:50 am

(TechWire) — UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Social Sciences jointly launched the Contextual Robotics Institute Oct. 30 at a conference that featured speakers who are the nation’s top robotics scientists and business executives. The institute will be cross-disciplinary and integrate engineering and social scientists who will help create robots that can respond like biological creatures — to empathize with humans, synchronize, and respond to a human environment as companions. “Our plan is to do the research and development that’s needed to realize robots of the future — robots that are safe, useful and autonomous in any environment,” said Albert Pisano, dean of UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “That means pulling together our engineers and our social scientists to focus on both the robots themselves and how people will interact with them.”

Forty professors and research scientists with a combined $10 million in robotics research funding have signed on to participate in the institute. The campus has lined up support from such San Diego companies as Qualcomm, which needs new markets for its computer chips, and Northrop Grumman, which develops unmanned aerial vehicles. “The field of robotics is in a state of revolution,” said Matt Grob, Qualcomm’s chief technology officer. “And the robotics institute intersects with our business in multiple ways. Having this center in our backyard is very exciting. We get to the forefront of what researchers are doing.”

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