Washington, June 19 : Researchers at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) are working on a robot that can walk without help and makes decisions for itself
Members of the Autonomous Robotics and Systems Research Team at the university say what is surprising about their robot Tartalo is the fact that it can identify different places, and ask permission before going through a doorway.
The researchers say that their aim is to enhance the capability of robots to carry out several different tasks on their own.
Tartalo, they add, is one example of such robots who is intelligent enough to side-step any obstacle in its path.
This ability of the 1.5-metre tall machine is attributable to sensors installed around its "body" - sonars that emit and detect ultrasounds, infrared sensors and laser rays. The laser measures the distance of the robot from any object within a radius of 180 degrees.
According to the researcher, the sensors work along with a computer fixed as the robot's 'brain' to move from one place to another without problems.
Basilio Sierra is one researcher who, though did not build Tartalo, is trying to enhance its abilities.
He says that his team's objective is to realise a robot that can go anywhere it is told to.
The UPV/EHU researchers use biomimetic systems as a basis for developing the robot, which help the machine to explore the terrain and take in points of reference upon entering a new place.
They say that to enable a robot to perform tasks that living creatures are guided to do by instinct, the computer programmers will have to put in a huge quantity of data, programmes and calculations.
So far, Tartalo has been programmed room, corridor, front hall and "junction". When it goes around an apartment, it memorises the location of the four places, and creates a species of topological map.
The researchers are not trying to develop systems of interaction between machine and persons, in order for the robot to understand to which place the homeowner instructs it to reach.
The most important skill that Tartalo has been taught is to recognise doors. If the door is closed, it knocks two or three times on the door with its "feet", because it is not yet fitted with an arm to open it the door.
The aim of the UPV/EHU research team now want Tartalo to learn to distinguish between many other things, such as faces, voices or any object that it is asked to fetch.