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Smartcart project gets underway at Mcity

A fleet of autonomous “Smart Carts” – high-tech, 3D printed, low-speed electric vehicles – could one day zip around the University of Michigan North Campus, taking students, professors and staff to class, labs and offices while also serving as one of the first test beds for on-demand autonomous transit.   In an early step toward that goal, U-M researchers received a custom, 3D-printed vehicle from technology company Local Motors. Over the next year, Edwin Olson, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who leads the project and his team of U-M researchers will develop autonomy capabilities and build…

Sirius: Modeling Future Data Center Workloads

Sirius, an open-source digital assistant created at Michigan, can serve as a powerful tool for researchers to use in modeling the data center workloads of the future, which will be based heavily on image and voice processing and Q&A services, as opposed to text searches. It can also help researchers to improve the digital assistant.  

Prof. Satinder Singh Baveja on robotic companions

Will advances in artificial intelligence bring us closer to having robots in our homes? A Michigan Engineering expert weighs in on the goals and outlook for research in making robots that think like humans.   The idea of artificial intelligence is rooted in creating a mind that has the same flexibilities and capabilities of a human mind — or even more. Although research has been advanced in a variety of areas of human intelligence, such as voice and face recognition, the next question will be how to integrate the separate aspects into a fully capable brain, says U-M professor Satinder…

Prof. Edwin Olson on sensing and perception for robots

Prof. Olson’s research includes finding ways for robots to sense and understand their environment while coping with uncertainty and ambiguity. The perception problem is central to a variety of practical applications, from indoor robots that can lead tours or deliver mail to autonomous cars that can navigate urban environments. His work includes both fundamental algorithm research (optimization, state estimation, classification) and system building.  

Vulcan: The Intelligent Robotic Wheelchair

Prof. Ben Kuipers, CSE graduate student Collin Johnson, and ME graduate student Jong Jin Park have created Vulcan, an intelligent robotic wheelchair. Vulcan learns the spatial structure of the environment it moves through and it uses that knowledge to plan and follow routes from place to place. Robotic wheelchairs will benefit people who need a wheelchair, but are unable to use one because of multiple disabilities.  

Software that is better at detecting deception than you are

By studying videos from high-stakes court cases, University of Michigan researchers are building unique lie-detecting software based on real-world data.   Their prototype considers both the speaker’s words and gestures, and unlike a polygraph, it doesn’t need to touch the subject in order to work. In experiments, it was up to 75 percent accurate in identifying who was being deceptive (as defined by trial outcomes), compared with humans’ scores of just above 50 percent. The system might one day be a helpful tool for security agents, juries and even mental health professionals.  

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