Robustness by Autonomous Competence Enhancement 

Project Goals

The overall aim of this project is to develop an artificial cognitive system, embodied by a service robot, able to build a high-level understanding of the world it inhabits by storing and exploiting appropriate memories of its experiences. Experiences will be recorded internally at multiple levels: high-level descriptions in terms of goals, tasks and behaviours, connected to constituting subtasks, and finally to sensory and actuator skills at the lowest level. In this way, experiences provide a detailed account of how the robot has achieved past goals or how it has failed, and what sensory events have accompanied the activities.

Robot competence is obtained by abstracting and generalising from experiences, extending task planning and execution beyond preconceived situations. Activities successfully carried out by the robot for specific objects at specific locations may be generalised to activity concepts applicable to a larger variety of objects at variable locations. Conceptualisations may also result in commonsense insights, e.g. about object behaviour on tilted surfaces.

The project aims to produce the following key results:

(i) Robots capable of storing experiences in their memory in terms of multi-level representations connecting actuator and sensory experiences with meaningful high-level structures,

(ii) Methods for learning and generalising from experiences obtained from behaviour in realistically scaled real-world environments,

(iii) Robots demonstrating superior robustness and effectiveness in new situations and unknown environments using experience-based planning and behaviour adaptation.

Project Data

Duration 12/2011 - 11/2014
Supported by the European Commission under Grant 287752 FP7-ICT-2011-7


University of Hamburg, Germany - Jianwei Zhang (Coordinator, TAMS), Bernd Neumann (CSL)
University of Leeds, UK - Anthony G. Cohn
Örebro University, Sweden -Alessandro Saffiotti
University of Osnabrück, Germany - Joachim Hertzberg
University of Aveiro, Portugal - Luís Seabra Lopes
Hamburger Informatik Technologie-Center HITeC, Germany - Lothar Hotz

RACE Homepage

The RACE Team at the Cognitive Systems Laboratory, University of Hamburg

Bernd Neumann
Jos Lehmann
Project leader

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