U-M Professor Corso Awarded NSF Robotics Grant

Professor Jason Corso was awarded a new grant from the National Robotics Initiative at the National Science
Foundation. The project, a collaboration with Professor Jeffrey Siskind at Purdue University, is entitled
“RobotSLANG: Simultaneous Localization, Mapping, and Language Acquisition.” This exciting new project seeks
to address the challenge of natural communication between robots and humans for tasks involving spatial
navigation. Language is routine for most humans. Language serves myriad purposes ranging from everyday
conversation to cataloging international law; most relevant to this project are the rich linguistic elements
describing the spatial environment, the objects and places within it, and the navigable paths through it.
Yet, language continues to evade robot systems; mobile robot platforms are adept at mapping and navigation,
but they rely on metric representations of the environments. Humans and robots do not share a common language.

The project seeks to overcome this significant limitation by conjoining the well understood problem of mapping,
or more generally simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), with that of language acquisition that will
enable a new symbiosis between mobile robots and humans in the context of navigation tasks in novel