The long-term vision of the Rainbow team is to develop the next generation of sensor-based robots able to navigate and/or interact in complex unstructured environments together with human users. Clearly, the word "together" can have very different meanings depending on the particular context: for example, it can refer to mere co-existence (robots and humans share some space while performing independent tasks), human-awareness (the robots need to be aware of the human state and intentions for properly adjusting their actions), or actual cooperation (robots and humans perform some shared task and need to coordinate their actions). Within this general picture, the Rainbow activities will be particularly focused on the case of (shared) cooperation between robots and humans by pursuing the following vision: on the one hand, empower robots with a large degree of autonomy for allowing them to effectively operate in non-trivial environments (e.g., outside completely defined factory settings). On the other hand, include human users in the loop for having them in (partial and bilateral) control of some aspects of the overall robot behavior. We plan to address these challenges from the methodological, algorithmic and application-oriented perspectives.
The main research axes along which the Rainbow team will be articulated are the following: three supporting axes (Optimal and Uncertainty-Aware Sensing; Advanced Sensor-based Control; Haptics for Robotics Applications) that are meant to develop methods, algorithms and technologies for realizing the central theme of Shared Control of Complex Robotics Systems.