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AI for Terrestrial Robotics: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

There is a proliferation of autonomous flying vehicles, and the same can be said of autonomous marine robots. For terrestrial robots, however, only very limited number of applications have been found so far. With the exception of driverless car technologies showing some level of autonomy, most of the ground robots are not autonomous, but remotely operated. While there are abundance of unwarranted expectations of robots enhancing our daily lives, no machine exists in consumer market today for doing laundry, cooking, dog walking, etc. 

This is due to limitations of current Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for robots to deal with complex physical environments we live in. They exhibit brittleness and lack of adaptabilities to unfamiliar surroundings or entities, but more critically they lack common sense. This talk will provide a brief background of these AI limitations on terrestrial robotics, and will proceed to highlight some key research areas that may enable them someday to operate autonomously and seamlessly, thus significantly improving our qualities of life. I will highlight some key opportunities, new areas of development, and potential applications by investing in and overcoming these challenges.



David HanSenior Scientist in Artificial Intelligence, Army Research Laboratory 

David Han is Senior Scientist of Artificial Intelligence in the Information Sciences Division (ISD) of the CCDC Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, MD, USA. He is an ASME Fellow and an IEEE senior member. Dr. Han received BS from Carnegie-Mellon University, and MSE and PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. He was with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and University of Maryland at College Park as researcher and faculty, and served as Distinguished IWS Chair Professor at the US Naval Academy. He spent over eleven years as program officer at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and served as its Deputy Director of Research overseeing the Discovery and Invention (D&I) portfolio of over $900 million from 2012 to 2014.

He also served as Associate Director for Basic Research in Machine Intelligence and Robotics in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Research & Engineering (ASD (R&E)) in 2014 to 2016 help overseeing over $2 billion annual research portfolio. Dr. Han has authored/coauthored over 100 peer-reviewed papers including 4 book chapters. His current research interests include computer vision, speech recognition, machine learning, and robotics.