LENA: Continuous learning to improve AI applied torobot navigation with human interactions

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The LENA project emerged with the aim of creating continuous learning algorithms in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) that are robust and flexible. This project is led by the Mobile Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Group (RAIG) from the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics (IRI, CSIC-UPC) at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC). LENA is focused on developing innovative technologies that overcome the current limitations in AI algorithms that, once trained, tend to show a certain degree of rigidity in the face of new, unexpected situations.

Currently, most AI algorithms are optimised through data-based training processes. Sets of data are selected to try to attain the widest spectrum of possible situations. However, once the training is completed, the derived networks tend to remain static. LENA seeks to mitigate this restriction in the case of autonomous robot navigation, given that unexpected situations are likely to be faced.

As part of LENA, methods will be developed for incremental or online learning and the transfer of learning. In addition, there will be a focus on interactions between humans and robots, to explore how learning can be optimised through two-way communication that imitates human interactions. To ensure efficacy, all the techniques that are developed will be exhaustively tested with real data from robot navigation.

These new developments will enable algorithms to adapt to changes in the availability and nature of data over time. They will become valuable tools for applications with constantly evolving data. In addition, they will facilitate a substantial improvement in the capacity of robots to understand and interact with the physical world, expanding their knowledge through new experiences. The accuracy of robots’ predictions and decisions will improve due to better understanding of the context in which they process the information. The capacity to learn from data generated by humans and the adjustment of the behaviour of AI systems based on this learning will promote the generation of innovative ideas and more natural and effective interaction with human users.

The LENA project not only represents a significant advance in the field of robotics and AI but will also contribute substantially to improving the interaction between humans and robots in dynamic, changing environments.

Budget and funding

The total budget for the LENA project is €101,250, and the expected duration is from 1 September 2023 until 31 August 2026. It was funded through the State Plan of Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2021-2023 (Spanish State Research Agency).

Project PID2022-142039NA-I00 funded by MCIN/ AEI /10.13039/501100011033 and by "ERDF A way of making Europe".


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