Information Trust Institute block of abstract images
Information Trust Institute block of abstract images

CAESAR: Autonomous Engineering Systems and Robotics


researcher: Seth Hutchinson (director)

Trust is a crucial attribute of autonomous agents and robotic systems. Such systems are increasingly called on to perform critical tasks with little or no human intervention, such as search-and-rescue, emergency response, surveillance, telemedicine, agricultural robotics, and coordination of multiple vehicles. The Autonomous Engineering Systems and Robotics activity (CAESAR) serves as a focal point for research in the algorithmic foundations, mathematical analysis, and engineering applications of robotics, multi-agent systems, sensor networks, and other autonomous and semi-autonomous systems.

These systems must not only exhibit high performance but also be safe, reliable, and secure when performing critical functions. CAESAR engages industry and government agencies to provide theoretically sound practical approaches for building autonomous and robotic systems that they can trust.

A particular interest of CAESAR is Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). Many tasks, such as remote manipulation and construction, cannot be accomplished by fully autonomous robots alone, because of security, complexity, remoteness, or other concerns. Instead, teams of humans and robots will need to work together, often in close proximity and often in safety-critical situations. Well-defined notions of trust between humans and machines need to be developed if such tasks are to be accomplished. Developing a rigorous and robust approach to human-robot trust requires engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, psychologists, and sociologists to work together in new and exciting ways.

Research in CAESAR will support the general themes of ITI in several ways:

  1. In the area of Critical Infrastructures & Homeland Defense:
    CAESAR will contribute to applications such as border surveillance, inspection of container ships, navigation and control of UAVs, sensor networks and coverage control for pollution monitoring, forest fire monitoring, building security, and a host of other areas of national and international importance.
  2. In the area of Embedded & Enterprise Computing:
    CAESAR will assume a leadership role in the development of novel embedded sensors, software architectures, middleware, and network protocols for increasingly complex applications requiring large-scale and distributed networks of autonomous agents.
  3. In the area of Multimedia & Distributed Systems:
    CAESAR will have an impact in the control of geographically distributed agents, such as sensors or teleoperated mobile robots, as well as the integration of multiple types of sensors - cameras, haptics/force, ultrasonic, acoustic - for applications ranging from telemedicine to vehicle formation control.

CAESAR Seminars