Thank You, Mr. Roboto
Professor and student perform key robotics research for automakers
R2-D2 may be cute, but Ford needs robots that can do more than beep, whirl and project holographic images of princesses from a galaxy far, far away.
The automobile manufacturer wants robots to be able to work alongside people, placing and connecting parts to vehicles as a moving assembly line rolls past. And Loyola may play an integral role in the solution.
As one of the organizations collaborating with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Loyola—through a computer science faculty member—is conducting research to make Ford’s goal a reality, making robots more adept and better able to move in the world.
“We want to make a robot catch a ball or work on a moving assembly line, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. It’s not yet commercially viable—and it’s a problem General Motors, Ford and other major manufacturers want solved,” said Roger Eastman, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science, who has been conducting robotics research with NIST since 2006.
Eastman is helping lead a three-year, $2 million NIST project to develop standards for advanced robot vision systems. In addition to Ford and GM, Loyola is partnering with NASA, the Army Research Laboratory, Purdue University and other organizations.