Taking a cue from Issac Asimov's robot stories, NASA is starting to develop robots which act, learn and collaborate with humans, as well as build reasoning systems similar to humans.
There are three main areas that Nourbakhsh's team will develop. One is called 'collaborative control,' during which the human being and the robot will speak to one another and work as partners. "A key benefit of collaborative control is that the robot is able to ask questions of the human in order to compensate for (the robot's) limitations," Nourbakhsh explained.It will be interesting to see if collaboration and the ability to learn will develop the robot's logic systems in interesting ways. But of more direct benefit is seeing how humans directly interact with robots and seeing how the -- for lack of a better term -- user interface of robots needs to change to work with humans more efficiently & smoothly.
A second area that NASA Ames researchers will develop is to build robots that have reasoning mechanisms that work similarly to human reasoning. "Of primary interest is making the human and robot understandable to each other," Nourbakhsh said. "We believe that by building robots with reasoning mechanisms and representations that are similar to what humans use, we can make human-robot interaction more natural and human-like," Nourbakhsh explained.
Thirdly, the researchers will conduct field tests of people and robots working together.