Humans and robots: the emotional connection

July 22, 2019
Robot plays soccer
YiBin Jiang, Medical School Research Technician, plays soccer with a robot. Photo: Joseph Xu.

Soldiers develop attachments to the robots that help them diffuse bombs in the field. Despite numerous warnings about privacy, millions of us trust smart speakers like Alexa to listen into our daily lives. Some of us name our cars and even shed tears when we trade them in for shiny new vehicles.

Research has shown that individually we develop emotional, trusting relationships with robotic technology, but until now little has been known about whether groups that work with robots develop attachments, and if so, if such emotions affect team performance. 

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Building trust between driverless car and driver

March 14, 2019
an obstacle in the road during a driving simulator
An upcoming obstacle sits in the road during a driving simulation that explores how drivers trust autonomous driving systems. Courtesy Lionel Robert.

If a driver does not trust an autonomous driving system, letting the computer take control can be as daunting as letting a teenager take the wheel. While not trusting a new driver might cause passengers to slam a phantom brake pedal or white-knuckle an arm rest, a driver who does not trust driverless systems might miss out on important safety benefits or even, as autonomous system advance, the ability to complete other tasks.

To improve trust in autonomous systems, researchers at the University of Michigan conducted virtual driving trials that found that the more information an automated driving system communicated about upcoming situations, the higher the level of trust a driver had in the system, and the better the driver performed on a task other than driving.

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Chad Jenkins named Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI)

July 12, 2017

We are thrilled to become part of the ACM family of journals,” explained THRI Co-Editor-in-Chief Odest Chadwicke Jenkins of the University of Michigan. “ACM’s reputation as a publisher of computing research is unparalleled. At the same time, the broad representation of computing disciplines in the ACM, the organization’s global reach, and platforms such as the Digital Library, are a perfect complement to our own goals for THRI.

Jenkins, along with Co-Editor-in-Chief Selma Šabanović of Indiana University, have set three primary goals for the journal in the coming years, including: 1) Sustaining the intellectual growth of HRI as a field of study (both quantitatively and qualitatively), 2) Enabling timely and productive feedback from readers, and 3) Cultivating new and leading-edge ideas in both robotics and the human-centered sciences

The inaugural issue of the rebranded ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI) is planned for March 2018. Those seeking to submit for the publication, or who have questions for the editors, are encouraged to visit the current HRI Journal website.

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U-M CSE Graduate Students present papers at ICAPS 2017

March 27, 2017

CSE graduate students Qi Zhang and Shun Zhang will present exciting research papers at ICAPS 2017, the 27th International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, taking place this June at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA.

Here are the papers:

Minimizing Maximum Regret in Commitment Constrained Sequential Decision Making

Approximately-Optimal Queries for Planning in Reward-Uncertain Markov Decision Processes