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Department of Computer Science and Technology

In Dr Amanda Prorok's lab, she and her team research practical methods to solve problems that require robots to coordinate with each other

In the Prorok Lab here, Dr Amanda Prorok and her team are researching practical ways to solve problems that require robots to coordinate with each other. This includes 'flocking' - a process in which each robot in the group adjusts its velocity and aligns with other robots while maintaining a predetermined path and avoiding collisions.

The Lab also works on distributed coverage, which entails sending robots into specific locations to gain familiarity with the layout of spaces, automate product delivery, monitor the environment, and conduct search and rescue for injured populations in disaster scenarios.

In 2019, Dr Prorok received an Amazon Research Award in recognition of her Lab’s work pioneering machine learning methods to synthesize local communication and decision-making policies. 

This work has many potential applications in the real world. For example, one of her co-authored articles proposes a 'plug and play' system that deploys connected sensors without requiring a global map, positioning data, or pre-calibration of the sensor network to guide a robot through a busy, cluttered, or dynamic environment. Prorok envisions using robots in remote parts of the world where connectivity is sparse or unavailable.

'I really like this idea of robots providing more sensing,' she said in an article published last week on the Amazon Research Awards website. 'We need to be thinking about the benefits of instrumenting the world.'

Read the full article here.  

Published by Rachel Gardner on Tuesday 6th December 2022