The 2,423rd Meeting of the Society

June 26, 2020 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Contextual Robotics

Making Intelligent Robots that Serve Society

Henrik I. Christensen

Professor of Engineering & Director, Contextual Robotics Institute
University of California at San Diego

Sponsored by PSW Science Member Erica Kane

About the Lecture

Robots are slowly entering many aspects of daily life.  Among a wide range of applications, they open up avenues to mass customization, enable innovative ways to improve the quality of life for the infirm and the elderly in an aging society, and ensure the  safety of first responders and improve their abilities to deal effectively with exigent, difficult and dangerous situations.

Progress on new materials, embedded systems, sensors and machine learning/artificial intelligence is enabling the design of robots that can empower people across work, home, and leisure.  Integration of  these improvements in sensing, planning, and actuation is making possible a new generation of intelligent robotic systems.

This lecture will discuss the major trends, the key challenges to designing intelligent systems, and the underlying models for perception, planning, and control of robots.  The lecture will give examples of the design of next generation robots for assisting people in their daily lives across manufacturing, transportation, and security applications.  And it will outline the current thinking on how robots will impact our lives in the coming decade.

About the Speaker

Henrik I. Christensen is the Qualcomm Chancellor’s Chair of Robot Systems, Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Institute for Contextual Robotics at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).  He is also an active member of the European Network of Excellence in Robotics, which he founded.  Prior to joining UCSD he was Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and held the KUKA Chair of Robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).  He also was Founding Director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech.

Henrik’s research focuses on robotics and artificial intelligence, with an emphasis on a systems view and systems integration.  Among many other interesting projects, he was the Principal Investigator of Georgia Tech’s team in DARPA’s first self-driving vehicle Urban Grand Challenge.

He is the main editor of the US Robotics Roadmaps of 2009, 2013, and 2016, which served as the basis for the National Robotics Initiative.  He is now working on the 2020 Roadmap.  Henrik also serves as associate editor on numerous AI and robotics journals.

Henrik is author of more than 350 scientific and engineering publications in the fields of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics.  He co-founded several companies, including ROBO Global and Robust.AI.  He serves as an advisor to a large number of companies and agencies across four continents.  And his work has been adopted by many enterprises, including Electrolux, ABB, KUKA, Weda, BMW, Boeing, iRobot, PerMobil and General Motors. Henrik’s work has been featured in major media such as CNN, BBC, NY Times, and the Financial Times.

Among many other honors and awards, Henrik was awarded the “Joseph Engelberger Award” and named “Boeing Supplier of the Year.”  He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in engineering from Aalborg University.  And he is an elected fellow of the IEEE and AAAS.

Henrik earned his Certificate of Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering from the Frederikshavn Technical School in Denmark, and his MSc and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Aalborg University in Denmark.