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Colin Britcher, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Education

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Senior Education Administrator

6.22.16 Wagner

Title: Building Safer Robots

Speaker: Michael Wagner, Carnegie Mellon University

Date: June 22, 2016

Location: Pearl Young Theater

Time: 2:00pm

Host: Danette Allen, NASA/LaRC; Carly Bosco, NIA

Abstract: Historically developed to handle our “dirty and dangerous” work, robotics is now entering our everyday lives in a variety of ways. Passenger cars exhibit higher levels of autonomous capability. Unmanned aerial vehicles are poised to take on more decision-making authority. Unlike in the past, these robotic vehicles cannot be physically separated from the people they serve. While these advances hold tremendous potential, they also present significant new risks to safety that are not always well understood. I argue that new techniques are required to determine whether or not we can justifiably place trust in these complex, automated systems.

This talk will survey promising research for addressing these challenges. I frame the approach from the perspective of Karl Popper’s falsificationism, and I propose that the robotics community should bring together ideas from formal assurance cases, run-time verification, and “adversarial” software-robustness testing. My hope is to bring about advances in dependability of autonomy that match the impressive gains we have made in autonomous capability over the past two decades.

Bio: Michael Wagner is a Senior Program Manager at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University and a co-founder of the start-up company Edge Case Research, LLC. He has almost twenty years of experience developing advanced robotic systems for industry, the Department of Defense, and NASA. Since 2006 his work has focused on building safer robots and researching ways for evaluating whether we are justified in trusting autonomous technologies.



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