In the not-too-distant future, we can look forward to prosthetic limbs that link with the human brain to restore function for stroke patients and accident victims. Driverless cars that will save tens of thousands of lives every year. Autonomous submarines that will map the ocean floor and inspect ships’ hulls for cracks and other dangers. Walking robots that will assist humans with search-and-rescue tasks. Interactive robotic devices that will enable the elderly to age gracefully and safely within their homes using natural language and fluid gestures.
But a host of difficult and enormously complex problems must be solved before these technologies can be incorporated into everyday life – problems that will require scientific breakthroughs in mobility, manipulation, communication, perception, pattern recognition, and other factors that enable robots to interact with humans and the world.
The University of Michigan Robotics Department will be a leader in achieving this not-too-distant future. With robotics faculty and students that have a significant range in expertise, we will push the boundaries in all of our research focus areas.